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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
/The Town of Cicero
HISTORY, ADVANTAGES, AND
WALTER BISHOP SPELMAN, A. B.
Copy of plate in
Discovery and Conquests of the Northwest
by Rufus Blanchard.
The Town of Cicero
HISTORY, ADVANTAGES, AND
WALTER BISHOP SPELMAN, A. B.
Instructor of Social Science
J. Sterling Morton High School
Vocational Department— -Division of Printing
J. Sterling Morton High School
After several years' experience in the teaching of civics I
began to realize that it always paid to study the government
of one's own community ; and it paid for these two reasons :
the boys and girls whom I had in class were some day to run
that community ; and the teaching of county, state, and national
governments was rendered doubly effective by the careful study
of local government and local problems. Certainly democratic
self-government; the theory of checks and balances in our three-
fold division of the legislative, the executive, and the judicial
departments ; American civil and political rights ; political par-
ties ; taxation ; and a great many of the present problems, eco-
nomic and social, whether they are labor unions, or capital, or
conservation, or crime, or disease, or poverty ; all can be brought
directly to the students' attention and within their compre-
Furthermore, knowledge is one result of education, and the
doing of something with the aid of that knowledge is another
result. Then, let the boys and girls (in class) vote at their
town elections ; let them visit and talk with the legislative, ex-
ecutive, and judicial bodies ; let them help solve these problems,
economic and social, by saving their earnings, by planting trees,
by being "big brothers" or Boy Scouts, by caring for Christmas
baskets. In these ways the civics class attains the aim of
modern education — activity.
I owe thanks for ideas and suggestions to Mr. K. D. Waldo's
pamphlet, "The Government of Aurora," and to Miss Mary
Louise Child's book, "Actual Government in Illinois."
I am indebted for assistance in securing information regard-
ing the history and government of Cicero to Miss Helen A. Bag-
ley, Librarian of the Oak Park Public Library ; Mr. Timothy
Buckley, Collector of the Town of Cicero ; and to Mr. O. ft
Schantz, Township Treasurer. Always I have been treated with
courtesy and sincere interest by the large number of persons
whom I consulted : town officials, school officials, aged citizens,
Chicago officials, the management of the Western Electric Co.j
and the vice-president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
The pamphlet is written for the boys and girls of Cicero.
WALTER B. SPELMAN.
to one who makes ideals realities,
HARRY VICTOR CHURCH
THE AMERICAN'S CREED
I believe in the United States of America as a government of
the people, by the people, for the people ; whose just powers
are derived from the consent of the governed ; a democracy in
a republic ; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states ; a per-
fect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those princi-
ples of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which Amer-
ican patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to
support its constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag and
to defend it against all enemies.
— William Tyler Page.
(As formally accepted by the Speaker of the House
of Representatives, April 3, 1918)
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CICERO
Years ago, an Indian, a tall Weamiami warrior, stood on a
slight eminence of the Western prairie. Before him was a slug-
gish stream, flowing toward the northwest, where the Indian's
keen eye caught a glimpse through the trees of another stream,
very much like the first. He knew, too, that those two rivers
joined beyond the fringe of trees and forced their waters past
bars of sand into the great "Lake Chicagou." After a glance
3ackward over the wide fertile plain, a rolling expanse of prairie
weeds and wild sunflowers, he walked to the river-bank, un-
loosed a bark canoe, and paddled south and then west, up a
branch of the river. Presently he passed a ridge of oak trees,
)n his right, while to his left he viewed a heavy swamp. Then
le ran his canoe high up on a bar of sand, jumped out, made a
ihort portage, and was in the river "Desplein."
That prairie is our town-site; the rivers are the south and
lorth branches of the Chicago river ; the lake is Lake Michigan.
Che Indian was of the tribe of Weamiamis, the early occupants
>f this soil. His course was up the west fork of the south branch
)f the Chicago river into the swamp now known as Mud Lake,
ind thence to the Des Plaines river.
How historic is the ancient land on our southern boundary!
rhat Indian was followed in after years by Father Jacques
Marquette (1673) ; by Sieur de La Salle (1681) ; and by the fa-
nous Tonty, and later by Indian traders, explorers, pioneers,
rench, Spanish, English ; by officials, even Governor Cass of
Michigan. The old route is still traceable, but our drainage sys-
ems have obliterated the streams and swamps and an earthen
like separates Mud Lake from the Des Plaines River.
Shortly before the Revolutionary War, in the year 1765, the
Veamiamis were driven from this prairie corner of the lake by
powerful fighting tribe from southern Wisconsin, the Potta-
/ottamies. Resistlessly they passed southward until they swept
ntirely around the head of Lake Michigan. This was the tribe
hat participated in the massacre at Fort Dearborn (August 15,
812). These Indians, shrewd and energetic, were the last to
save Illinois, lingering about Chicago until 1835. Slowly but
Driven out by
THE TOWN OF CICERO
surely, however, the advance of the whites and the yielding of
the Indians' lands by the Treaty of Greenville (1795) and the
successive treaties of 1816, 1832, and 1833, forced their reireat
west of the Mississippi. There is a reminiscence handed down
by an old settler of Oak Park that on the occasion of the P'ofc-
tawottomies' leaving their Des Plaines camp grounds, one of the
packhorses loaded with salt slipped in fording a small branch
stream- — hence the name, Salt Creek.
During this period the civilization of our prairie began. Un-
der the authority of the Federal government, the land was suc-
cessively organized as the Northwest Territory, Indiana Terri-
tory, Illinois Territory, and in 1818 the State of Illinois. Mean-
while the westward emigration was slowly and steadily populat-
ing southern Illinois, developing the embryo city of St. Louis :
founded in 1764; and creating in northern Illinois the Queer
City of the Middle West, Chicago, with its village charter iti
1833 and its city charter in 1837. With Chicago grew towm
to the north and south, and inland to the west, until in 1831
Cook County was organized, at that time including the pres;
ent Dupage, Lake, McHenry, Will, and Iroquois Counties. Ouj
county received its name from Daniel P. Cook, a representativ<
tojCongress from southern Illinois.
\^At this time Chicago was only a village in number of people-H
having approximately 4,170 residents — and our town was stil
a fertile prairie, sparsely wooded at the east and south, and o*
the ridges to the west. But Chicago had started, and while ii
could go north and south it could not go east ; the result was j
westward expansion, and that westward movement is still a
irresistible one today.
Here must be stated at least three causes of that increase
migration to the west: First, the Erie canal, finished in 1825
which opened a direct waterway from the Atlantic coast t
Chicago for freight and passengers ; second, the National roac
built from Cumberland to Wheeling and later extended to Van
dalia, Illinois; third, European immigration that crept up fror
hundreds to hundreds of thousands^ If the defeat of the Indian
in the Black Hawk war (1832) and the recognition of the fei
tility of Illinois soil be added to Chicago's transportation pos
tion, soon to be improved by the building of the Illinois an
Michigan canal in 1848, the westward growth was, indeed, in-
Prior to the year 1849 our territory was under the county
unit of government. Taxes, roads, bridges, and elections were
directed by county officers. The county was divided into pre-
cincts and the precincts into road districts. In 1840 the popula-
tion of Cook County, including Chicago, was 10,201, and by 1850
it had increased to 43,385. The Illinois constitution of 1848 re-
quired the legislature to pass a township law, and it was passed
the following year. So on November 6, 1849, Cook County was
organized into townships. To the northwest along the Des
Plaines river was the township of Taylor, later, in 1850, changed
to Proviso, after the Wiimot Proviso Bill, which was at that
time agitating Congress. Our township, Number 39 North,
Range 13 East, according to the rectangular system adopted in
1785 by Thomas Jefferson, with its thirty-six square miles, ex-
tended from Western Avenue (24th) on the east to Harlem Av-
enue (72nd) on the west; and from North Avenue on the north
to Thirty-ninth Street on the south.
This township had its pioneer settlers, hardy men and women
of the frontier, upon whose work rests the city of to-day. Back
in 1831 two Englishmen, George Bickerdike and Mark Noble, Jr.,
jSuilt a small lumber mill on the "Aux Plaines^^rivTfr'^u^uiess
was precarious due to the long distance from any settlers. It
happened that Bickerdike had a friend over in Yorkshire, Eng
land, whom he urged to come over to the "Land of Promise."
This friend, Joseph Kettlestrings, left England in 1831 and made
the long trip with a wife and three children to this locality. By
1835 he had pre-empted a quarter section (about 173 acres) on
a ridge covered with oak trees. The present boundaries of that
iand would be Harlem Avenue, Chicago Avenue, Oak Park Av- .
eriiie, and the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. Kettlestrings
buflrtf House of oak boards on that part of his possessions which
was the only really dry land between the Des Plaines river and
Chicago. (The last statement explains why that section of Ci-
cero was settled first). The name of Oak Ridge, later Oak Park,
*.vas gradually adopted ; and when Kettlestrings added a dining-
room and a "bar" to his house, he called it Oak Ridge Tavern.
His real work was farming, however, and it was hard work on
No. 39 North
Range 13 East
THE TOWN OF CICERO
account of the need of drainage. He was compelled to use oxen j
instead of horses, as the cloven, spread-out foot of the oxen en-
abled them to traverse the swamps. This pioneer stayed,
worked, and succeeded.
The next early settler was one Reuben Whaples. He started
a farm over in "Lyons Precinct," but a terrific tornado swept ]
away all his property, including his house. Consequently in 1845
he decided to try Oak Ridge, where he built a log house that
would stay where it was placed. Later he sold his land to John
Henry Quick, but he again bought back a small portion on which
A little later a German, Ferdinand Haase, visited this lo-
cality (1849). Two years afterward he bought fifty-five acres
from a French trader named Bourassa. Haase acquired, as time
went on, two hundred acres of land along the east bank of the
Des Plaines river, about a mile and a half south of Oak Grove, j
and ran a stock farm. The land was usually covered with water, I
above which grew weeds and wild sun-flowers in luxuriant I
abundance. The latter were often higher than a horseman's j
head. In winter Haase was accustomed to skate from the Des
Plaines to Chicago and return. It may be noted here that he
discovered a complete Indian burial ground on this land.
Two other settlers in these early days were John Henry
Quick, a retired merchant of New York, who investigated west-
ern real estate and in 1856 bought a farm from Whaples, just
west of that owned by Kettlestrings ; and last, a very important |
citizen, James W. Scoville.
James W. Scoville, whose ancestors were Puritans, coming
from England to Connecticut, was born in Pompey, Onondaga
County, New York. His varied life as contractor, teacher, and
engineer led him through Oak Ridge when he made a trip on
toot from Chicago to Beloit, in 1848. On his return he traveled
the last part of his journey in a freight caboose on the new Chi-
cago and Galena railroad. He went back East, but he was again
attracted by the call of the West, and in 1856 he bought a small
lot of two and a half acres in Oak Park. By 1864 he had in-
creased his holdings to a 160 acre lot, just east of Oak Park Av-
enue. Scoville Avenue and Scoville Institute (Oak Park Public
Library) testify to his long service as a public-spirited citizen
of the community.
The^firstxailroad in the township was the Chicago and Galena
railroad, built from Chicago to Harlem in 1848 and in operation
55^1849. It had a few cars and a clumsy locomotive running on
strap rails." The schedule called for two trips daily to the city,
with the fare at forty cents. This road became the property of
the Chicago and Northwestern railroad in 1865.
It was not long before these early settlers began to demand
local government. Accordingly, early in the year 1857, the
County Clerk of Cook County posted a notice within the town-
ship — Number 39 North, Range 13 East — requesting the people
of that locality to organize a government. The electors met on
June 25, 1857, and elected N. G. Hurd as Moderator, and H. P.
Flower as Clerk of the meeting. The electors residing within
the territory at that time numbered only fourteen, representing
probably ten families. Their names are : George Scoville, H. H.
Palmer, James W. Scoville, Reuben Whaples, John Beaver, Wm.
H. Scoville, Joel G. Phillips, B. F. Livingston, Joseph Kettle-
strings, Peter Crawford, H. P. Flower, Ives Scoville, N. G. Hurd,
and Gilbert Crawford.
At this meeting the town was organized and it received its
present name — Cicero. This classical nomenclature was sug-
gested by Augustus Porter, a fine gentleman, who had formerly
lived in the town of Cicero in Onondaga County, New York
State. The people there proceeded to elect officers for the local
government as follows :
Supervisor — William H. Scoville.
Justices of the Peace — George Scoville and Peter Crawford
Constables- — John Beaver and Gilbert Crawford.
Assessor — James W. Scoville.
Collector — Reuben Whaples.
Town Clerk — H. P. Flower.
Commissioners of Highways — George Scoville, Peter Craw
tord, Joseph Kettlestrings.
Overseer of the Poor — Joseph Kettlestrings.
These gentlemen served until the next general town meeting,
which was held April 6, 1858, at the house of H. Minier. The
town had grown somewhat since its organization and num~
THE TOWN OF CICERO
to Civil War
bered on this occasion eighty-one voters, all of whom attendee
the meeting and participated in the selection of the following offi-
cers : Wm. H. Scoville, Supervisor; H. P. Flower, Town Clerk
Henry Loewe, Assessor; A. B. Kellogg, Collector; Peter Craw
ford, George Scoville, and Joseph Kettlestrings, Highway Com-
missioners ; Robert Horn, Constable.
The salaries of the town officers were ordered paid at thisj
meeting. Town Clerk Flower received the magnificent sum o:
$57.00, and Supervisor Wm. H. Scoville, $10.35. During the firsi
and second years of the town's existence the entire tax levy wai ;
$500.00, of which sum the major portion was devoted to roao.
Later, in 1860, the township was divided into six road dis 1 ,
ricts, numbered consecutively from one to six:
No. 1. Western Avenue to Forty-eighth Avenue, North Ave)
nue to Madison Street.
No. 2. Forty-eighth Avenue to Harlem Avenue. North Ave
nue to Madison Street.
No. 3. Western Avenue to Forty-eighth Avenue. Madiscf
to Twenty-second Street.
No. 4. Forty-eighth Avenue to Harlem Avenue, Madison t^
No. 5. Western Avenue to Forty-eighth Avenue, Twenty;
second Street to Thirty-ninth Street.
No. 6. Forty-eighth Avenue to Harlem Avenue, Twenty
second Street to Thirty-ninth Street.
The road work was very important as Cicero lay directly \\
the travel route between Chicago and the interior of Illinois;
As early as 1857. the sum of $2,200 was appropriated for inf
provements to Pennsylvania Avenue, now Lake Street. Th]
names of others of these early thorough fares are Barry Pom
Road, Whiskey Point Road (now Grand Avenue), and the South
west Plank Road (now Ogden A venue. V The road developmen
and. very soon, drainage, were closely related to the increase o
population, which steadily advanced from the handful in 1857 t<
over 3,000 in 1867.
Now the far reaching Civil War left its trace on our com
munity, for on February 4, 1865, a bounty tax was levied an<
$3,141.50 was paid in bounties to volunteers. At a regular meet
Ing of the town officers on November 7, 1865, Melton C. Niles
md James W. Scoville were each voted $100.00 for "their ser-
vices in assisting the town out of the draft."
£>lAt this time the leading spirit in Cicero's affairs was John
McCafTery, living in the southeast portion of the district — a vil-
age called Brighton. He brought pressure to bear on the State
Legislature, which on February 28, 1867, passed an act to incor-
porate the Town of Cicero. Thus it was changed from a gov-
ernmental town to an incorporated town with a special charter
Almost immediately amendments were agitated and the charter
gas revised by act of the State Legislature on March 25, 1869.
1 is this charter which directs our local government to-day; in
general, it is an excellent one, very liberal in its provisions for
elf-government, and very strict in its clauses against exhorbi-
:ant taxation. No other town in the state possesses a similar
Guided by the charter government Cicero maintained a defi-
lite system of improvement, especially highways and drainage.
Fhe following figures show the increase in roadway expenditures
Detween 1869 and 1873 :
Riverside Parkway (22nd St.) $283,066.72
Hyman Avenue (48th St.) 29,984.11
Ogden Avenue 60,867.93
Austin Avenue 30,073.57
These sums were covered by bonds and paid by the special
assessment method. At the same time the town planned and
:ompleted a drainage system. The drains ran north and south,
Placed, at first, at every section and then at every half-section.
Each ditch was twelve feet wide at the top, two feet wide at the
Dottom, and four feet deep. The ditch was dug at the west side
bf the street and the excavated earth was used for road grading.
Each was a miniature stream with aquatic vegetation, frogs,
fish, and "mud-puppies." All emptied into the then infamous
The meetings of the town officials were usually held at Four •
iVIile House on Lake Street, near Fortieth Street, sometimes at
private houses, and occasionally at the Northwestern Railway
station in Austin. In 1871 a town-hall with its public square
was built in Austin. The early records show the regular trans
8 THE TOWN OF CICERO
actions of ordinary town affairs— elections, taxes, road improv
ments, drainage, bridges, land divisions, licenses, and annex
tions and secessions, the last two a burden for years to com
These annexations to the City of Chicago and the secessio
of Oak Park and Berwyn from Cicero have left the town as it i
to-day, and they must be given in detail in order to understand
First Annexation — On February 27, 1869, about a month ;
before the state legislature revised the charter of Cicero, an aci
provided that the territorial limits of Chicago "shall be and are
hereby extended as follows: Sections 1, 2, 11, 12, 13, 14, 23. 24, j
25, 26, and that part of Sections 35 and 36 lying northwest of the j
center line of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, all in Township
39 North, Range 13 East, shall be and are hereby added to the |
City of Chicago." This territory was bounded as follows : On
the east by Western Avenue, on the north by North Avenue, on J
the west by Fortieth Avenue, and on the south by the center line j
of the Illinois and Michigan canal. The foregoing was a part of
the fourth extension of the city limits of Chicago. The town.;
board of Cicero fought in vain against the annexation.
Second Annexation — After a long struggle, dating from Nol,
vember 17, 1887, the act of April 29, 1889, provided that "tha^
part of Sections 35 and 36 lying southeasterly of the center line
of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, in Township 39 North, Range
13 East; also Sections 3, 10, 15, and the last three-quarters of;
Sections 22, 27, and 34, lying northwest of the center line of the,
Illinois and Michigan Canal be and the same are hereby declared;
to be annexed to the incorporated City of Chicago." The bound-',
aries of the parts taken by this act were as follows : The trian-
gular piece bounded on the east by Western Avenue, on the'
south by Thirty-ninth Street, and on the northeast by the center
line of the Illinois and Michigan Canal ; also that strip bounded
by a line commencing at the intersection of West Fortieth Ave-
nue and North Avenue, running thence westerly on North Ave-
nue to the center line of Forty-eighth Avenue, thence south ol
the center line of Forty-eighth Avenue to the center line of
Twelfth Street to the center line of West Forty-sixth Avenue
to Thirty-ninth Street : thence easterly to West Fortieth Avenue,
thence north on the center line of Wesl Fortieth Avenue to the
Illinois and Michi-
Chart Showing Original Township of Cicero with Subse-
quent Territorial Losses— 1849-1901.
1. Annexation to Chicago, Act of Legislature, Feb. 27, 1869.
2. Annexation to Chicago, Resolution of Cook County
Commissioners, April 29, 1889.
3. Annexation to Chicago, Election, June 29, 1889.
4. Annexation to Chicago, Election, A pril 4, 899.
5. Secession of Oak Park, Election, Nov. 5, 1901.
6. Secession of Berwyn, Election, Nov. 5, 1901.
7. Cession of Hawthorne Race Track to Stickney, Town
Ordinance, Nov. 26, 1900.
Present Town of Cicero.
place of beginning. The foregoing formed a part of the sixth
extension of the city limits of the City of Chicago.
Third Annexation — On July 15, 1889, an order was filed in
the County Court of Cook County declaring the result of a spe-
cial election held June 29, 1889, by which the following territory
was annexed to the City of Chicago : The eastern half of Sections
4 and 9, the boundaries of which were Forty-eighth Avenue on
the east, North Avenue on the north, Robinson Avenue (52nd)
on the west, and Madison Street on the south.
Fourth Annexation — On the fourth of April, 1899, at the reg-
ular municipal election held in the Town of Cicero, and in the
City of Chicago, the proposition was submitted to the people to
annex to the City of Chicago a portion of the Town of Cicero
The proposition was carried and the following territory became
a part of Chicago : Section 16, the western half of Sections 4 and
9, and the eastern half of Sections 5, 8, and 17. The boundaries
were Forty-eighth Avenue from Twelfth Street to Madison
Street and Fifty-second Avenue from Madison Street to North
Avenue, on the east; Madison Street from Forty-eighth Ave-
nue to Fifty-second Avenue, and North Avenue from Fifty-sec-
ond Avenue to Sixtieth Avenue (Austin Avenue), on the north;
Sixtieth Avenue on the west ; and Twelfth Street on the south.
Secession of Oak Park and Berwyn — On November 5, 1901,
an election was held in the Town of Cicero for the purpose of
permitting Oak Park and Berwyn to separate from the Town
of Cicero and form independent villages. Accordingly all that
territory lying between Austin Avenue (60th), North Avenue,
Harlem Avenue (72nd), and Twelfth Street, became the Village,
of Oak Park. This comprised the western half of Sections 5, 8^
and 17, and Sections 6, 7, and 18. The territory lying between
Lombard Avenue (62nd), Twelfth Street, Harlem Avenue
(72nd), and Thirty-ninth Street, became the City of Berwyn.
This comprises the western quarter of Sections 20, 29, and 32,
and Sections 19, 30. and 31.
Hawthorne Race Track— According to an ordinance of the
Town of Cicero, recorded November 26, 1900, the southeast
quarter of Section 33 was ceded to the Town of Stickney.
These successive losses of land have left Cicero with its pres-
ent boundaries. During this long period the town had increased
THE TOWN OF CICERO
P. B. Weare,
in population, with a peculiar system of growth. Similar to Oak
Park and Austin small communities™ groups of three or four
houses — appeared in widely divergent sections. The oldest
community was Clyde, a name bestowed by a Scotchman, Clark,
who lived in Chicago and had invested in this western land. Then
came Hawthorne to the east, with its quarries of limestone, and
Morton Park, along the route of the Burlington railroad; and
later Grant Works, so named on account of the Grant Locomo-
tive works ; Drexel, and Warren Park, the latter receiving its
name from Andrew Warren, a land owner.
The existence of one of these — Morton Park— the "hub" of
the town, was due to the sentiment of one man; its story con-
trasts strangeh' with the usual businesslike account of a sub-
The one man was Portus Baxter Weare, pioneer Indian
trader, and commission merchant, widely known and counting
among his intimate friends many of the important men of the
early days in Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Illinois. He had
that adventurous spirit which drove him west from Connecticut
to engage in the fur trade ; and he possessed the keen business
ability which is typical of the growth of Chicago and the Middle
At the time of the great Chicago fire the Weare Commission
Company with P. B. Weare at its head was an active firm doing
business on South Water Street in Chicago. They dealt in furs,
pelts, and in all kinds of food, especially game, prairie chickens,
and geese, which were shipped by the thousands ; there were no
restrictions then, for no one ever dreamed that the prairie supply
would ever be exhausted.
A few years after the great fire, however, the game trade did
diminish ; but a steadily, rapidly growing- grain trade replaced
it, and presently the Weare Commission Company had new offi-
ces at 226 LaSalle Street near the Chicago Board of Trade. P.
B. Weare became one of the shrewdest and most fearless traders
in the grain business.
In the meantime Mr. Weare realized that West Adams Street
where he had resided for years was becoming congested; and
with customary independence he began to look around for a
place to live where he could breathe comfortably. He wished
to have an unobstructed view of the sunrise and sunset; he de-
lighted in the violets, phlox, asters, and golden rod of the prai-
rie. So with prompt decision he opened a sub-division and Mor
ton Park had its beginning. It was named for an old Nebraska
friend, J. Sterling Morton, the Secretary of Agriculture in the
cabinet of President Grover Cleveland, and the founder of Arbor
Day (for the curious, Mr. Morton's first name is Julius). Here
in the center of a quarter block at the northwest corner of Fifty-
second Avenue and Twenty-fifth Street, Mr. Weare built a beau
tiful, tastily-furnished house that became a home not only for
the owner but also for his many friends. Gradually, too, it de-
veloped into a little social center for the neighbors who followed
his first steps to Morton Park.
With these scattered communities as centers Cicero increased
its population, slowly at first, but with the rapid development of
Chicago, with the improved facilities for transportation — the
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, the car line to Lyons,
the car line to Riverside and LaGrange, the extension of the
Metropolitan Elevated road and the corresponding extension of
the Chicago surface lines from Chicago Avenue and Ogden Ave-
nue — and with the location of manufacturing industries, es-
pecially the Western Electric Company, the town swiftly jumped
to a prominent position among the industrial cities of Illinois.
The boundaries of the several communities have expanded until
they have met, changing Cicero from a town of several towns
to one solid community.
As the growth of Cicero has depended and still depends to
a great extent on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
with its transportation facilities, it is fitting to give, in conclu-
sion, a brief sketch of the history of the road, closely connected
as it is with American history.
Iowa had entered the Union in 1846, the first free state of the
Louisiana Purchase. The pioneers of that state of Louisiana
were immediately followed by thousands of a fine type of Euro-
pean immigrants, especially the Germans who left Germany dur-
ing the Revolution of 1848. in search for liberty ; and they found
it in Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Illinois. By 1849 Texas
and California had been added to United States territory, as a
result of conquest in the Mexican War. Then like lightning
Quincy R. R.
THE TOWN OF CICERO
came the cry of "Gold" from California. These historic events
created a demand for transportation, a demand that brought
the "Burlington," the road which passes through Cicero.
Briefly, the facts are these : At that time railroads were built
under special state charters, and a large number of them was
granted at every session of the legislature, for the people de-
manded railroads. On February 12, 1849, three special charters
were granted by the Illinois State Legislature :
I. Aurora — "Aurora Branch." to be built twelve miles
north to Turner Junction.
II. Peoria — "Peoria and Oquawka," to be built from Peoria
[II. Quincy — "Northern Cross." to be built northeast to-
These railroads, so tar on paper only, were financed locally.
The "Aurora Branch" people managed by 1850 to build their
twelve miles of road to Turner Junction (West Chicago). This
was "the small seed out of which the C. B. & Q. finally grew."
At Turner Junction it connected with the Galena road, now the
Northwestern, and handled its traffic over that line, thirty mile?
in length, to the Kinzie Street terminals, until the building of the
St. Charles Air Line in 1855.
The Peoria people raised enough money to build 14 miles of
road westward to Edward's Siding, having planned their route
through Farmington. This troubled the people of Galesburg,
who wanted a railroad; so they obtained a charter of their own
in 1851, which they called "Central Military Tract," authorizing
them to build northeasterly toward any connecting line with
Chicago. Shortly after this Chauncey S. Cotton of Galesburg,
Mr. Wadsworth of Aurora, both merchants and both actively
interested in railroads, and James W. Grimes, a progressive
lawyer of Burlington, Iowa, met in Boston, where all were
transacting business. They .agreed upon a plan to persuade the
directors of the Michigan Central — Forbes, Brooks, Joy, and
their associates — to finance a railroad from Burlington to Chi-
cago via Galesburg; and that plan was successful.
Meanwhile, in June, 1852, the "Aurora Branch" charter was
amended to provide for a line southwest to Mendota, the nam*
West Chicago (North*,
Burlington J — ~"*
Origin and Development of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
R. R. in Northern Illinois.
(1) Aurora Branch, 1850;
(2) Chicago & Aurora, 1853; Consolidated, 1856, Chicago,
(3) Central Military Tract, 1854; Burlington & Quincy.
(4) Peoria & Oquawka, 1855;
(5) Main Line C. B. & Q., direct to Chicago via Naperville,
was changed to "Chicago and Aurora/' and the road was built
before the close of 1853.
With the backing of the Michigan Central interests, the "Cen-.
tral Military Tract" road began work in 1852, and completed
the link between Galesburg and Mendota in 1854; at the same
time these financial interests aided the construction of the "Pe-
oria and Oquawka" from Galesburg west to the Mississippi
river opposite Burlington, completing the work in March, 1855.
The name of the connecting line, "Chicago and Aurora," was
now changed to "Chicago, Burlington and Quincy," a title that
has been popularly abbreviated to "The Burlington." The fol-
lowing year, 1856, the "Central Military Tract" was consolidated
with the Aurora company under the name "Chicago, Burlington
By this time the Chicago terminals of the Galena road had be-
come inadequate; accordingly in 1855 the St. Charles Air Line
was built jointly with three other roads, which enabled the C.
B. & Q. to have a direct connection with the Michigan Central
and better terminals at the foot of Randolph Street. Later the
Burlington interests completed the "Northern Cross' from
Quincy to Galesburg; they finished the "Peoria and Oquawka"
from Galesburg east to Peoria ; and they came to the relief of
the Hannibal and St. Joe Company and of the Burlington and
Missouri River Company, the former connecting Hannibal with
St. Joseph in Missouri and the latter connecting Burlington with
Ottumwa in Iowa.
At the outbreak of the Civil War the road was in operation
from Chicago to East Burlington, and from Galesburg south
to Quincy, and east to Peoria, with close connections at Chicago
for the Michigan Central, at Burlington with the Iowa road, and
at Quincy with the Hannibal line across the State of Missouri.
There was no further construction during the war except that
in 1864 the line was built from Aurora direct into Chicago via
Naperville and through Cicero. The road was an established suc-
cess. Its later developments in construction, operations, and
mergers have made it a famous system with nine thousand
miles of road in twelve different states, a system that carried
twenty-three million passengers in 1920.
C. B. and Q.
14 THE TOWN OF CICERO
Let it be said, finally, that the Town of Cicero has underneath
its thriving modern life a real history. On this territory the life
of the American Indian, the hardships of the pioneer, the strug-
gles of the early settler, the skill of the mechanic, the energy
of the business man, the projects of the railroad engineer— all
present in miniature a picture of the development of the great
Middle West. May this idea stir the imagination and arouse
the patriotism of its boys and girls, its men and women.
The Making of the Burlington — W. W. Baldwin.
Discovery and Conquest of the Northwest— Blanchard.
Actual Government in Illinois— Childs.
Personal Reminiscences of Pioneer Life— Elizabeth Porter
Reminiscences of Early Chicago— E. O. Gale.
The Government of Illinois—Greene.
Halley's Pictorial Oak Park.
Chapters of Oak Park History— John Lewis.
Early Days of Peoria and Chicago— McCulloch.
Historic Illinois— Parrish.
In Memoriam — James W. Scoville.
Father Marquette— Thwaites.
Charter and Revised Ordinances of Town of Cicero, 1897.
Chicago City Manual — Bureau of Statistics and Municipal
Cicero Town Records.
Maps of Chicago Bureau of Maps.
Municipal Code of Town of Cicero, 1917.
Records of Department of Public Works of Chicago.
Reports of Town of Cicero, 1869-1889.
THE ADVANTAGES OF CICERO
The town of Cicero is located on the level prairie land, adja-
cent to the limits of the City of Chicago, and seven miles distant
from the "Loop/' the center of the business district of that city.
The town within its area of five and one-half square miles pos-
sesses the fundamental advantages necessary to the growth of
a modern city; namely, homes, business houses, manufacturing
The greatest advantage, the foundation of a city and state
and nation, is the home ; and Cicero is primarily a "home town."
Land at a reasonable price ; building material at hand ; skilled
labor in the community; an efficient local government; schools,
churches, roads, sewers, water, gas, electricity for light and
power, and in progress a public library and a park-playground
system — then, indeed, the newcomer says, "I will build here."
The population has increased by leaps and bounds until it
reached the United States census figures of 44,995 on January
first, 1920. Of this number approximately 92% are foreign-born
or of foreign parentage ; the nationalities represent almost every
country in Europe and the Near East, with the Bohemians lead-
ing, approximately 35%, and the Polish ranking second with
about 17% of the population. Then come Slavs, Hungarians, Rus-
sians, Lithuanians, Germans, Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, Irish,
Scotch, English, Scandinavians, and still others from Europe, and
Mexicans from Central America. As regards the character of the
inhabitants, these four traits predominate: Patriotism, love of
home, thrift, and a firm determination to educate their children.
Enlistment of men and the co-operation of both men and women
in the war activities of 1917-1920 fully prove the patriotism ;
neatly-kept houses with lawns and shrubbery testify to the
homes ; postal savings and local savings-bank accounts afford
evidence of thrift ; and silent, untold sacrifices to keep the child-
ren in school show a fierce desire for an American education.
Each of the various localities of the town : Hawthorne, Mor-
ton Park, Drexel, Clyde, Grant Works, and Warren Park, has
its grammar schools, with a total number of fourteen, all now
under a unified organization in one district, Number 99. These
THE TOWN OF CICERO
grammar schools are the sources from which the well equipped
township high school, J. Sterling Morton, draws its enrollment.
Throughout the town the religious organizations have their
churches and missions, seventeen of them, of the following de-
Polish Catholic Congregational
Lithuanian Catholic St. Mary's, Episcopal-
Irish Catholic English Lutheran
Bohemian Catholic Presbyterian (two)
English Catholic Baptist
German Lutheran Baptist Mission
Methodist (two) Kvangelical Lutheran
Cicero has the essentials of the nation : Home and church.
Each citizen has a right to be proud of the streets of the
town. Since 1849, the date of the organization of a town gov-
ernment, there has been a steady, systematic series of road
improvements, rendered necessary to keep pace with the growth
of traffic. At present there are approximately fifty-six miles of
improved roads built of the following kinds of material :
Macadam 19 miles
Asphalt 21 miles
(Two miles are boulevards)
Brick 13J4 miles
Granite block Vz mile
Concrete 2 miles
Total 56 miles
it is significant that presently about $200,000.00 will be ex-
pended for roads and other improvements. Of similar import-
ance, too, is the beginning of a paved alley system, which means
that the rear as well as the front of the house is worthy of at-
Not as prominent to the eye but vitally necessary to the
health of each individual is the sewage system. As stated be-
fore in the history of Cicero, this section was in the early days
a very damp locality, so damp that frequently it was entirely
under water. Mr. John Mongrieg of Clyde used to row a boat
from Clyde to Hawthorne in order to get to work ; Mr. Robert
Muir of the same locality regularly kept rubber hip boots in the
Clyde station so that he could reach his home at night. Excel-
lent duck hunting grounds were in the swamp at Fifty-sixth
Avenue and Twenty-fifth Street. The first attempts at drain-
age were the open ditches at section and half-section lines. In
1893, however, a box sewer of wood was constructed under-
ground along Fifty-second Avenue. Yet, during its con-
struction the open ditch on Twenty-second Street became
blocked and a historic Hood occurred. The entire prairie west
or Fifty-second Avenue was under water, and the avenue itself
was a raging torrent.
This box sewer together with similar ones at Ridgeland
Avenue, Oak Park Avenue, and Harlem Avenue materially im-
proved conditions. Then in 1912 the increased population neces-
sitated the modern drainage and a huge brick sewer was built
under Fifty-second Avenue, connecting Chicago and Cicero
sewer mains with the Drainage Canal. This sewer is seven feet
in diameter north of Twenty-sixth Street and seven and one-
half feet in diameter south of Twenty-sixth Street. Its cost
was met jointly by Cicero (town) and the Sanitary District for
that part of the main lying south of Twenty-second Street, while
the City of Chicago paid for the extension north of Twenty-sec-
ond Street to the city limits at Twelfth Street. There is also
a drainage line called the "intercepting sewer" constructed at
Oak Park Avenue and the Illinois Central Railroad, running par-
allel with the railroad to Fifty-sixth Avenue, thence south on
Fifty-sixth Avenue to Thirty-ninth Street, thence east to the
Fifty-second Avenue brick sewer. By this system of mains and
sub-mains all that territory is successfully drained which lies
between Forty-sixth Avenue and Harlem Avenue, and also a
section of the west side of Chicago.
For water supply Cicero goes to Chicago. Previously, in
the days of sparse settlement, there were individual wells,
while later a private company furnished water from its artesian
well for the territory north of Twelfth Street. In 1890 Cicero
dug its own well (artesian) and constructed a pumping station,
the one now located in Berwyn, at that time, of course, a part
if Cicero. Then improvements were paid by special assess-
ments and a water rate. Again and very soon a modern system
THE TOWN OF CICERO
was necessitated by increasing population and for fire protec-
tion, with the result that in 1895 the Cicero mains were con-
nected with the Chicago mains at Twenty-sixth Street and the
pumping station was built near the town hall. Now there are
two other main connections on Twelfth Street with the city
mains ; and there are three electric automatic pumps to equal-
ize the pressure.
The household conveniences of gas and electricity for both
light and power are efficiently and reasonably supplied by the
Public Service Company of Northern Illinois.
Concluding the list of civic attractions to home-builders are
the public library and the park-playground system. The library
emerged from a vision to a reality in the winter and spring of
1920 when some public-spirited citizens strongly backed by Ci-
cero's civic organizations, the grammar schools, and the high
school, secured a tremendous majority at the polls on election
day in favor of a bond issue for the library. The initial sums of
money are now available and the library board of nine members
elected on April fifth, 1921, are energetically performing their
supervisory duties of planning and constructing the library, and
putting it into operation.
At this same time, too, the people are planning with vision
and skill a comprehensive park and playground system for the
entire community. It is of interest to relate that Cicero's only
park district, that in Clyde, was established in 1907. In that
year the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad granted a
five-acre tract of land to the Town of Clyde, which then organ-
ized a park district in order to have legal taxing power for main-
tenance of the park. The district includes the territory between
Sixteenth and Thirty-ninth Streets and Fifty-sixth and Sixty-
second Avenues. The district affairs are conducted by a board
composed of five members, elected for a term of five years.
Other civic improvements now under consideration are a
hospital in the town itself ; although St. Anthony's, Cook County,.
Oak Park, West Suburban, and Berwyn hospitals are within
reach ; an up-to-date hotel ; a Young Men's Christian Association
building ; and a Young Woman's Christian Association building.
In Cicero the close inter-relation between homes and business
and manufactures is perfectly illustrated ; the home demands
material from business and supplies labor to manufactures ; bus-
iness supplies the home with its materials and demands those
materials from manufactures ; manufactures supply business
with its materials and demand labor from the home. The result-
ing- inter-relation is a triangle. The parts of that triangle, how-
ever, must be properly adjusted to each other; such an adjust-
ment means a division of the community into zones or districts
in order that each of the three elements may exist and develop
without detriment to the others. In general such a system is
already present : the industries, heavy and light, are grouped
along the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad to the south ;
along the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railway (Inner Belt) to
the east ; and along the Baltimore and Ohio Railway to the north.
The commercial houses, numerous and prosperous, extend chiefly
along Twelfth Street, Twenty-second Street, and Twenty-fifth
Street, with other minor districts on Forty-eighth Avenue, Fifty-
second Avenue, and Twenty-sixth Street. The residential sec-
tions are grouped in six communities and are fairly well sepa-
rated from the other two classes of districts. It is well, on the
other hand, to provide for the future ; and so it is probable that
a zoning ordinance will be worked out, in accordance with the
state legislative zoning act of 1919.
The kinds of manufactures are numerous, also, and varied, Manufacturing
covering almost everything "under the sun." In size some are p,ant8
small with a list of five to ten employees, while the Western
Electric Company has fifteen thousand employees. An enume-
ration of a few of the 115 factories and workshops follows:
American Magnesia Products Co.
LaSalle Steel Co.
American Spiral Pipe Works.
Conlon Electric Washer Co.
Chicago Vitreous Enamel Co.
The Greenlee Foundry.
National Malleable Castings Co.
Chicago & Illinois Western R. R. Co.
Western Overall Mfg. Co.
Gerrard Wire Tying Machine Co..
Hurley Machine Co.
Crown Stove Works.
THE TOWN OF CICERO
Colonial Fireplace Co.
Clapp, Norstrom, and Riley.
Coonley Mfg. Co.
Steel Products Co.
Fulton Saw Works.
Union Gasket & Mfg; Co.
Midland Terra Cotta Co.
Concrete Engineering Co.
Cicero Rubber Co.
Western Electric Co.
It is impossible to list the companies dealing with coal, lum-
ber, automobile accessories and repairs, the bakeries, bottling
works, tailor shops, and supply houses for miscellaneous ma-
terial. These names will confirm the statement that Cicero's
industries are varied and extensive.
Everyone of these business houses and manufacturing plants
depends primarily on one factor — transportation. That factor
Cicero possesses. Coal for power — raw materials for manufac-
turing — cars for shipment of finished products : all depend on
transportation. To these there must be added the transporta-
tion of the men and women, the human part of a manufacturing
plant. This transportation is furnished as follows :
I. Railroads —
A. Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy.
B. Illinois Central.
C. Baltimore and Ohio (freight only ; terminal at 56th
D. Manufacturers' Junction. (A separate corporation
with several miles of track at 25th Street, 48th Ave.,
and Ogden Ave.)
E. Chicago and Eastern Illinois (Inner Belt; connections
with all roads).
These mean that Cicero has the identical advantages of Chi-
cago, the railroad center of the United States.
II. Electric Railways —
A. Chicago and West Towns Railway lines. The company
controls the Berwyn-Lyons line ; the LaGrange line ;
and the Chicago Avenue (52nd Ave.) line.
B. Chicago Surface Lines.
1. Ogden-Laramie (52nd Ave.)
2. Twenty-second Street.
3. Cicero Avenue (48th Ave.)
4. Roosevelt Road (12th St.)
C. Chicago Elevated Lines. Douglas Park branch of
the Metropolitan Elevated. This line at present
has its terminal at Lombard Ave. (62nd Avenue).
These mean that Cicero has the three-fold advantage of Chi-
cago city surface and elevated line service ; interurban service
to other towns on the west and north ; local transportation ser-
It is these systems of steam and electric railroads that have
benefited and have perfected the harmonious relation of home,
business, and manufactures.
In conclusion there follows a sketch of the history of the
most interesting as well as the most important manufacturing
plant in Cicero — the Western Electric Company, with a $30,000,-
000 capital, and with an annual volume of business of $60,000,000.
The initial Hawthorne plant was erected in the year of 1902,
and the shops were in operation by the early part of 1903. Since
that time building after building has been erected in accordance
with a definite plan of units ; and this enlarging process will con-
tinue because, before the end of the present year, 1922, all the
New York shops will have been transferred to the Hawthorne
To survey the main events in the life of the Western Electric
Company, it is necessary to go back to the period following the
Civil War. In 1869 the Western Union Telegraph Company
consolidated its several instrument shops, an arrangement which
caused the abandonment of the shop at Cleveland, Ohio. The
foreman of this shop, George W. Shawk, bought part of its
equipment and, employing five or six men, started to produce
miscellaneous equipment. Very soon he formed a partnership
with Mr. Barton, then chief operator in the Western Union of-
fice at Rochester, N. Y. After a few months Shawk sold his
interest to Elisha Gray, an inventor. Gray had previously ex-
pressed a desire to form a partnership with Shawk, but the lat-
ter had refused, saying "Gray would want to put every man in
22 THE TOWN OF CICERO
the shop onto his darned inventions." Gray obtained the neces-
sary money for the partnership by selling to General Anson
Stager his interest in a patent for a printing telegraph instru-
ment. General Stager at that time was General Superintendent
of the Western Union Telegraph Company. He very shortly
became an equal partner with Gray and Barton, on the condition
that the shop be removed from Cleveland to Chicago. Each
partner contributed about $2,500 to the capital. So near the
end of the year 1869 the firm had bought a repair and model
shop from L. C. Springer in Chicago, with a location on LaSalle
Street near South Water Street. As the business increased,
especially in the making of Morse instruments, steam power was
introduced, and later the shop was moved to the corner of State
Street and Eldridge Court.
Entrance The shop was extremely fortunate in escaping destruction
of Western by the Chicago Fire of 1871 ; on the other hand it received a
Union Co. powerful impetus in orders due to replacement and reconstruc-
tion. The following year, 1872, the Western Union Telegraph
Company abandoned its instrument shop at Ottawa, Illinois;
but at the same time the company negotiated with the Gray and
Barton firm to take over the shop's business. In the transac-
tion the Western Union Company acquired a third of the Gray
and Barton stock, General Stager held a third, and friends and
employees of the firm held the remainder; the name, too, was
changed to read : The Western Electric Manufacturing Com-
pany ; with a capital of $150,000. General Stager leased a site
on Kinzie Street near State Street, finally buying the building,
which then became the Western Electric shop.
New York At the end of seven years, 1879, the Western Union Telegraph
s,te Company was so well satisfied with the results of its invest-
ment in the Western Electric Manufacturing Company that it
turned over to the latter its New York factory by leasing to
them the building and machinery on New Church Street, New
York City. For ten years this was the Western Electric's New
Telegraph During the above period Alexander Graham Bell had been
perfecting the telephone; its first public exhibition was on July
e ep one ^ 1876, at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Then came
the fierce competition between the Bell Telephone Company
and the Western Union Telegraph Company, the latter also
being in the telephone business. The Western Electric Manu-
facturing- Company, meanwhile, was kept busy making tele-
phones and telephonic equipment for the Western Union ex-
changes. The fight of the latter with its rival was waged in
actual business, in the patent office, and in the courts. The Bell
company had the Bell patents ; the Western Union Company
had the Edison patents and the Elisha Gray fundamental patent
for the speaking telephone. Finally, in November, 1879, peace
was made on the initiative of the Western Union because "while
it had the more money, the Bell Company had the better patent" ;
and both with a common interest began a development of ex-
changes and lines throughout the United States.
The Western Electric Manufacturing Company now, also,
entered the telephone exchange business, securing licenses in
several of the Middle Western states, and developing especially
the Central Union, Iowa, and Chicago Telephone Companies.
However, the Western Union Company, part owner of the West-
ern Electric Manufacturing Company, objected to the latter's
purchase of telephone exchange interests ; and the Electric Com-
pany, accordingly, limited its activities to the manufacture of
Presently the Western Union Telegraph Company underwent
a change in management, when the Vanderbilt stock was ac-
quired by Jay Gould. As a result General Stager left the com-
pany and devoted his time and energy to the business of initi-
ating and extending telephone exchange systems. In this work
he frequently came into contact with the officials of the Bell
Telephone Company ; and then it was but a short step to the
formation of a new company called the Western Electric Com-
pany, which took over the business of the Western Electric
Manufacturing Company, and also the business of the two larg-
est manufacturing companies of the American Bell Telephone
Company—the Charles Williams, Jr., Company, of Boston, and
the Gilliland Company of Indianapolis. The Bell Company pur-
chased the stock owned by the Western Union Company, stock
which the Gould interests were perfectly willing to sell, and it
also bought some of the Charles Williams, Jr., stock, and some
of the stock of General Stager, thus controlling a majority of
THE TOWN OF CICERO
the Western Electric Company's stock. In this way the new
company became the exclusive manufacturers for telephones
and later for telephone apparatus for the Bell Telephone Com-
pany. The relations between the two were agreed upon by Mr
Vail, General Manager of the Bell Telephone Company, and
General Stager for the Western Electric Company.
The quarters on Kinzie Street, Chicago, were changed to a
new building, erected in 1883 on Clinton Street near Van Buren
Street. This was the nucleus of the Clinton Street branch of
Other developments were the transfer of the Boston Charles
Williams, jr.. plant to New York City, and in 1889 the erection
of a new building on Thames and Greenwich Streeti in that
city; the transfer of the Gilliland factory from Indianapolis to
Chicago; and the establishment of a branch factory at Antwerp,
Belgium. During these years, the 80's, the capital was $1,000.-
<X)0 and the annual volume of business was about $1,000,000.
The European shop was a direct result of the organization
of the International Bell Telephone Company, whose purpose
was to obtain European franchises, and whose stock was owned
as follows : 45% by the International Bell Telephone Company
and 55% by the Western Electric Company. The one Antwerp
shop has now increased to factories in Montreal, London, Ant
werp, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Budapest, St. Petersburg,
The steady increase in the demand tor telephonic apparatus
exhausted the manufacturing facilities in Chicago so that in
1902 it was determined to start a new plant at Hawthorne,
where gradually all manufacturing work is being concentrated
in a marvellous plant.
M he following is a general outline of the plan of organiza-
tion of the Western Electric Company:
Board of Directors
1. Twenty Distributing Houses
2. General Merchandise
1. General Sales Manager 3. Sales Manager's Staff
(a; Telephone Sales
(b) Supply Sales
(c) Foreign Sales
1. Telephone Switchboards and
2. Specific Apparatus and Research
(c) Telephone Exchange
(f) Apparatus Models
3. General Purchasing Agent
4. General Superintendent of Manfg. Plant (Hawthorne Plant)
2. Chief Engineer
7. General Manager for Europe
8. Vice-President and General Counsel
GOVERNMENT OF CICERO
The town of Cicero is governed in accordance with the pro-
visions of a charter granted to the people of the town by the
Illinois state legislature on February 28, 1867 ; the charter was
revised and amended on March 25, 1869. These two facts clearly
illustrate the principle that a state government controls all local
governments, and is superior to them.
In this town system of government there are the fundamental
divisions, as in the state and in the nation ; namely, legislative,
executive, and judicial. The first two, in local or municipal
affairs, are far more important than the last. The legislative
division is the town board ; the executive division is the pres-
ident and his appointees, together with the other elective
officials; and the judicial division consists of the police magis-
trate, justices of the peace, and constables.
Legislative Department— The legislative department is com-
posed of the town board of trustees, made up of the president,
the clerk, the collector, the supervisor, the assessor, and four
trustees. One trustee is elected every year for a term of four
years ; the other members of the board have the same term, also,
The qualifications of all these officials are as follows:
He must be a legal voter of the town, a requirement which
includes residence and citzenship and the age of twenty-one.
He can not hold any other town office, nor can he be trustee
of another town or municipal corporation.
He can not be interested in any contract made with the board
or with the town for the purpose of improvements.
He can not be a defaulter in payment of any money to the
The election of a trustee is held on the first Tuesday in April ;
the ballots being cast at the polls in the thirty-one precincts of
the town. The polls are open from six a. m. to four p. m. In each
precinct there are three judges and two clerks selected by the
Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. (This board of three
THE TOWN OF CICERO
members is appointed by the county judge for a term of thre
years). To vote the citizen must be registered on one q
two days — a Tuesday four weeks before the congressional eleq
tions in November, or a Tuesday three weeks before the towi
primary elections in March. Cicero's elections are guided by th«
city election act of 1885 passed by the Illinois State Legislature
The election returns are issued in two duplicate statements, bot)
to the board of election commissioners. The county clerk issue
a certificate of election to the trustee elected. A contested elec,
tion is referred to and settled by the board of election commis
sioners and the county judge.
When the trustee legally enters his office, he must take th«
following oath :
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support th<
constitution of the United States, and the constitution of th<
State of Illinois, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties o
the office of trustee according to the best of my ability."
In case the office of trustee becomes vacant, it is filled for the
remainder of the term by appointment by the board of trustees
The board of trustees is authorized by the charter to make
their own rules and regulations for their government and ordei
of business. The regular stated meetings of the board are helc
in the town hall, on the first and third Mondays of every calendai
month, except in case of public holiday, when the board bj
resolution selects another day. The specified time is eight p. m
There are also adjourned meetings for completion of unfinishec
business, and special meetings. The special meeting is called by
either the president or any two members as follows : a written
request stating the time, place, and nature of business is signet
by the president or the two members and filed with the towii
clerk. He gives every member of the board at least three days*
notice that is written and that specifies the time, place, and busi
ness. At this meeting only such matters can be considered as
were specified in the written request.
The method of procedure at a regular meeting follows the!
usual parliamentary rules. A majority of the members of the
board constitute the quorum necessary to transact business. No
member can be absent or leave before adjournment undei
nalty of loss of pay for the session unless he is excused by the
resident. At each meeting the president presides ; or, if he is
lable to attend, one of the board members is selected by the
:>ard as president "pro tern."
In voting on any resolution, order, or ordinance for the ex-
jnditure of money or for taxation or for a special assessment,
te yeas and nays must be called and entered on the record. In
)ting on other measures there is collective voting ; but the yeas
id nays must be recorded if such a vote is called for by any
ember on any question. A majority is necessary to pass a
easure ; the president votes in case of a tie.
i A correct record of the minutes of all proceedings is kept by
The usual order of business at a meeting is as follows :
Consideration of minutes of previous meeting
Presentation of petitions, orders, and other communica-
Reports of town officers
Reports of standing committees
Reports of select or special committees
In case where a resolution or motion is entered on the
nutes, the name of the member who makes it must also be
Special committees are elected by the board as they deem
Standing committees consist of three or more members each,
d are chosen by the board. There are seventeen of them, as
2. Streets and Highways
4. Special Assessments
5. Police and Fire
6. Water Works
7. Street Lighting-
THE TOWN OF CICERO
9. Judiciary and Ordinances
11. Rules and Regulations
13. Public Grounds
14. Gas and Electricity
16. Committee of the Whole
17. Board of Local Improvements.
The committee system of the town is very similar to that
the nation; it is based on the need for careful investigation ai
consideration of measures by bodies smaller in numbers th;
the entire legislative division.
The reports of committees are made to "The President ai
the Board of Trustees of the Town of Cicero," and they descril
the matter referred to them, give the decision or the conclusic
reached, and offer a corresponding recommendation, resolutio
or ordinance. All the relating papers must be attached to tl
The board organizes itself in April of each year, when tl
municipal year begins. The fiscal year on the other hand begii
January first and ends December thirty-first.
The salary of each trustee is paid per meeting. The!
is no other compensation for any services, whatever, and a men
ber is not entitled to pay for more than one day's attendance
any one week. These restrictions are specified in the charter
incorporation; consequently, any change must come through $
act of the state legislature.
The powers of the town board are definitely stated in tt
charter, in the acts of the state legislature, and in the constit;
tion of the state of Illinois. These powers may be classifie
broadly, as follows :
A — Members — The board regulates its own government ar
determines its rules of procedure.
B — Appointments — All appointments by the president must t
made with the advice and consent of the board.
C — Ordinances — A law passed by the board of trustees is cal
ed an ordinance. The general ordinances of the town board are
published by the trustees in a book with the title "The Revised
Municipal Code of the Town of Cicero." The subjects with which
ordinances deal are, in general, as follows :
Improvements in the town.
Control of all town property, real and personal.
Issuance of licenses to every kind of business and shop.
Maintenance of order, peace, and safety ; i. e., the police and
Protection of the citizens from disease ; i. e., the health de-
Care of streets and highways ; i. e., regulation of their use by
public utility companies, as water, gas, telephone, electricity,
transportation, and by all kinds of traffic.
Requisition of money by taxation for all these purposes. The
expenditure of money, however, is very strictly limited by the
constitution of the state to a maximum of five per cent of the
assessed valuation and also by legislative acts, which, for ex-
ample, refer special and general assessments and bond issues
to the people.
With these facts regarding the legislative department, it must
be emphasized that the welfare and progress of the town of
Cicero depend to a great extent on the men whom the people
elect as members of the town board of trustees.
The executive department consists of the following officials,
elected by the people :
Town Clerk Assessor
To these must be added the departments of Law, Police, Fire,
and Health, which are controlled by the appointive power of the
President. It is these officials and these departments that ex-
THE TOWN OF CICERO
ecute the laws of the town and direct its affairs. It is significant
that the President, Town Clerk, Supervisor, Collector, and As-
sessor are also members of the legislative body, the town board
— an arrangement that results in very efficient government.
As in practically all American cities the chief executive officer
is the President. Ordinarily he would be called mayor, but
since Cicero is an incorporated town, the town title of President
is used. His position is one of importance and responsibility,
upon him depends the success or failure of the town government
The qualifications of the President are citizenship in the
United States, the age and residence requirements of a qualified
elector, and the necessity of continued residence within the
He is elected at the regular April elections for a term of four
years. Originally one year in length the term was increased to
four years by a special act of the state legislature on June 25,
1917. He holds his office until his successor is elected and qual-
ified; he is eligible for re-election. The President must take
the usual oath of office and must execute to the Town of Cicero
a bond for $1000.00 as surety for the faithful performance of
his duties. He must keep his office at the town-hall and attend
there during the business hours of the day for the transaction
of official affairs.
In case of a vacancy in the presidency, when the unexpired
term is less than one year, the Board of Trustees elects one of
its members to serve until the next annual election. When the
unexpired term is one year or over, the vacancy is filled by an
election. A vacancy occurs, too, when the President removes
from the limits of the town. If there is a temporary absence
or disability of the President, the board elects one of its mem-
bers as president "pro tern," and the latter possesses the legal
powers of the President.
The salary of the chief executive is two thousand dollars
($2000.00) per year, an amount determined by ordinance of the
Town Board; it can not be increased or decreased during the
current term of office. The President is entitled to the services
of a private secretary, appointed by him, but having his or her
compensation determined by the Board of Trustees. It should
be noted that such a position as President of a town frequently
leads to higher state or federal positions ; and, if the incumbent
is a lawyer, it leads to an increased practice later, as a result of
the training secured.
The powers of the President are broadly classified in four
groups: A) Legislative powers; B) Executive powers; C) Mili-
tary powers ; D) Pardoning powers.
A) Legislative Powers— The President presides at the meet-
ings of the Board of Trustees, and he is the chief official of that
body. He may call a special meeting of the board by filing a
written request with the Clerk, stating time and place of meet-
ing and the nature of the business to be transacted. He has no
vote at any meeting except in case of a tie, when he casts the
deciding vote. He possesses the usual veto power which may
be overcome by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Trustees.
At the close of each fiscal year, the President submits to the
Board of Trustees his annual report, which contains a general
summary of the affairs of the municipality for the preceding-
year, together with suggestions and recommendations for the
future interests of the town. At various times, too, he acts in a
similar capacity as Chairman of the Board of Local Improve-
ments, directing its actions and drawing up specified ordinances.
B) Executive Powers— In general the President as the chief
executive officer of the town must faithfully perform his own
duties as prescribed by law ; and he must see that all laws and
ordinances are duly enforced and obeyed.
He has the power at all times to examine and inspect the
books, records, and papers of any agent, employee, or officer of
the town. As he is responsible for the administration, he must
know thoroughly the conduct of affairs by his officials.
He appoints, by and with the advice and consent of the Board
of Trustees, all officers whose appointment is not by law other-
wise provided for, such as Town Attorney, Highway Engineer,
special officers, and heads and members of the Health depart-
ment. Fire department, and Police department. If a vacancy
occurs, the President within thirty days must communicate to
the Board the name of his appointee, and, pending the concur-
34 THE TOWN OF CICERO
rence of the Board in the appointment, he may designate some
suitable person to discharge the duties of the office.
Removals The President has the power to remove any officer appointed
by him provided that there is a formal charge and provided that
he is of the opinion that the interests of the town demand such
removal. However, he must report the reasons for his actions
to the Board at a meeting to be held not less than five days nor
more than ten days after the removal ; if the President fails or
refuses to file with the Town Clerk the reasons for removal., or
if the Board by a two-thirds (2-3) vote of all its members, by
yeas and nays, to be entered on the record, disapproves of the
removal, the officer is restored to his office ; but he must give
new bonds and take a new oath of office. No officer can be
removed a second time for the same offense.
The President must sign all commissions, and he is author-
ized to grant and sign all licenses and permits under the ordi-
nances of the Board of Trustees. No license is legal unless it
is signed by him. He must, also, sign all warrants drawn on
the Treasurer by the Town Clerk, and his name must be on each
bond issued in the name of the town.
Signature The President with the Town Clerk has charge of the sale
and transfer of all lots and parcels of land attained by reason
of the non-payment of taxes or of assessments, together with
the accrued interest.
C) Military Powers — He has the usual military powers of
the executive. Within the town limits he is conservator of the
peace, and it is his duty to suppress all riots, routs, affrays, fight-
ing, breaches of the peace, and to prevent crime. When neces
sary the President has the power to call on every male inhabi-
tant of the town over eighteen years of age, to aid in enforcing
laws and ordinances. In such case he is, of course, subject to
the authority of the Governor of the state, who is commander-
in-chief of the militia.
D) Pardoning Powers —The President may release an\ per-
son imprisoned for violation of any town ordinance; he must,
at the first session of the Town Board, report the release and
his reasons. This same power of releasing prisoners as well as
the power of remitting fines and penalties also belongs to the
Board of Trustees.
The attention of those who are interested in municipal gov-
ernment may well be directed to the position of the executive
in the incorporated town of Cicero. On the one hand, a leading
member of the town legislature ; on the other hand, a vigorous,
responsible executive; these two facts result in a peculiarly
efficient co-operation of two branches of our American govern-
ment, a co-operation that is frequently lacking in city, state,
and nation. It seems to suggest a type that ranks with the
city-manager and commission forms of local government.
The remaining executive officials who are elective, include
the Town Clerk, the Collector, the Supervisor (Treasurer), and
the Assessor. Each must have the same qualifications as the
Town Trustees in respect to age and residence requirements
of a qualified elector, and the forbiddance of holding any other
town office, of being interested in any contract with the town
and of defaulting in any payment to the town. Each must take
the usual oath for faithful performance of duties ; and each, as
he enters upon the duties of his office, must execute a bond to
the town in such a sum and with such security as the Board of
Trustees requires. This bond is surety for all money handled
by the official and for the proper carrying out of the duties of
the office. The salaries are paid from appropriations by the
Board, and all such amounts are deemed a tax on the taxable
property of the town. If the official receives an income from
commissions or by a percentage on the money collected, it is
lawful for him to retain his compensation, which, however, can
not exceed the sum of five thousand dollars ($5000.00) per year.
All salaries, fees, and compensations are fixed by town ordi-
nance. The term in each case is for four years, the official being
elected at the regular spring elections. He legally holds office
until his successor is elected. If there is a vacancy, the office
is filled by the President, with the advice and consent of the
Lrd of Trustees, until the next annual election.
THE TOWN OF CICERO
The Town Clerk really has a twofold position: first, that of
the Town Clerk, and second, that of the Town Comptroller. His
salary is fixed by appropriation, and his bond is five thousand
dollars. ($5000.00). Powers and duties are as follows:
He has care of the corporate seal, which must be affixed to
all town documents before they become official. He has the
custody of all town records, books, papers; a file of all required
oaths and certificates ; and records of all bonds issued by the
He attends all meetings of the Town Board and keeps record
of the proceedings, with the rules, regulations, by-laws, and
ordinances passed by them. He handles all requisite notices,
commuications and records of the town officers ; issues and
attests all licenses ; issues plates and badges ; and draws all
warrants for money on the Town Treasurer.
He appoints, with the advice and consent of the J3oard of
Trustees, such assistants and subordinantes as he requires. He
is fully responsible for them and he may remove them at his
As ex-officio Comptroller of th etown, the Town Clerk
assumes what in ordinary business would be the duties of
an auditor. He and the Treasurer and the Collector consti-
tute the Department of Finance. However, the Clerk is the
head of the department. He supervises every officer of the
town charged ro any manner with the receipt collection, and
disbursement of the town revenues. Fie is the fiscal agent o\
the tov n. Ii.i\ ing charge of all deeds, mortgages, contracts, judg-
ments, notes, bonds, and contracts involving obligation on the
part of the town, as well as its property; having the auditing
of all accounts.
Scarcely second in importance are the financial records he
must keep — a complete set of books containing usually the fol-
lowing accounts :
A) Current assets and liabilities
B) Investments of town in property
C) I )el'ei red debt of the town
D) Appropriations of year for every expenditure
E) Receipts from each and every source of revenue. Finally,
the Comptroller is the power that balances the budget appro-
priations desired by the town officers with the revenue income
of the municipality.
The Collector, before entering on the duties of his office,
executes a bond to the Town of Cicero for the sum of fifty
thousand dollars ($50,000.00), with surety approved by the
Board of Trustees, and conditioned on the faithful performance
of the duties of the office. He is paid a regular salary and in
addition a certain percentage on the amounts collected, It is
his duty to receive all sums paid to the town for taxes, special
assessments, franchises, licenses, inspection, permits, water, and
for any other purpose not otherwise specifically provided for.
if it is due the town. He must keep accurate books and ac-
counts which show all receipts and other matters pertaining to
his office. He furnishes and files with the Town Clerk a com-
plete monthly statement and also a final yearly summary. H^
appoints such assistants as he needs, if authorized by the Board
of Trustees. He is responsible for his subordinates and may
remove them at his discretion.
The work of the Collector is most heavy during the period
from January second to March fifteenth, when the regular taxes
are paid to him. Besides this responsibility he exerts consid-
erable directive power as a member of the Department of Fi-
The title, Supervisor, is the old time-honored one used in the
New England town. It was used in Cicero's charter of incor-
poration, although there it was specified that the Supervisor
should be, ex-officio, the Treasurer of the town.
He, too, executes a heavy bond, to the value of $150,000.00,
as surety for good conduct. His salary is paid with a certain
percentage of the money handled by him.
He receives all money belonging to the town, and he renders,
at the end of each month, a statement under oath to the Clerk,
showing the state and balance of the treasury, with an accurate
38 THE TOWN OF CICERO
record of every cent received by him, from whom, and on what
account ; in addition, an accurate record of all money paid out,
and on what account. During the year he keeps a regular set
of books as prescribed by the ordinances of the town, and at
the end of the fiscal year he makes a final report to the Town
The position of the Treasurer is that of paymaster to a bus-
iness organization ; it is one of tremendous financial responsi-
Value of ^} ie Assessor is the most feared man in local government
His work — to estimate the value of your property — is briefly
as follows : On or before the first day of May of each year, he
receives from the County Board of Assessors the assessment
books and all the blanks necessary to be used in the assessment
of real and personal property. Then between the first day of
May and the first day of July he determines, as nearly as possi-
ble, the fair cost value of all real estate in the town, setting down
in the proper column the value of each item ; he makes revalua-
tions every four years and new property valuations each year.
He also assesses the personal property of the citizens of the
town by calling upon them and requesting them to fill out a
blank called a personal property schedule, which contains, when
filled, a "true and correct" list of the citizens' property. In the
latter part of June the Assessor forwards the books to the
Board of Assessors. (Keep in mind that assessed valuation is
one-half of the actual, cash valuation). The work of the Asses-
sor is difficult; it arouses bitterness in many instances; and it
is hampered by the confused methods used in Cook County.
(Valuations of railroad property are made by the State Tax
Commission and sent to the County Clerk).
THE LAW DEPARTMENT
The law department is an executive department of the town
government ; it consists, usually, of the town attorney and the
town prosecutor, but there may be assistants to them if the town
board so provides by ordinance or by resolution.
The town attorney is the head of the law department, and he
is appointed by the board of trustees. Before he enters upon
the duties of his office he must execute a bond to the town for
one thousand dollars, as a surety for faithfulness in the perform-
ance of his work.
His chief duties are : to keep a record of all court actions,
prosecuted or defended by his office ; to furnish opinions on all
subjects submitted to him by the president or the board of trus-
tees ; to draft any ordinance required by the town board ; and to
prepare any papers, such as deeds, leases, or contracts, as are re-
quired in the transaction of town business.
As other town officials do, he makes an annual report to the
board of trustees at the end of each year. On the other hand
he makes a yearly estimate of the expense for his department,
to the town clerk, an estimate Avhich is placed by the clerk be-
fore the board.
The town prosecutor, appointed by the board of trustees, is
an assistant to the town attorney. His particular office, how-
ever, is to make thorough investigations of offenses against town
ordinances, institute the legal proceedings that seem necessary,
and secure the legal penalty. He has the detailed work, too, of
verifying all complaints with respect to alleged violations of
town ordinances, and of endorsing all warrants issued by the
police magistrate or by a justice of the peace. He has a book
of records of all complaints and the attendant information, a
record of all legal cases conducted by him, and he makes
a monthly report to the town attorney.
II THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
The police department of the town is a most important Necessity
branch of the executive power. This department has the direct for
charge of the welfare, the safety, even the lives of the citizens Efficiency
THE TOWN OF CICERO
of the town. Always, when the cleanliness and morality of any
municipality are considered, it is the police force that holds, or
loses, the necessary standard. In Cicero, especially, this de-
partment must be maintained with an efficiency second to none
in the state. Partly as the result of being a manufacturing and
transportation town, partly as the result of being a close suburb
of Chicago and consequently being used sometimes as a dump-
ing place for Chicago's criminals, Cicero has real police work
Personnel The present force of the police department is as follows :
1 captain of police
1 lieutenant of police
3 patrol sergeants
6 detective sergeants
3 desk sergeants
2 motorcycle officials
The captain and other officers are appointed by the pres-
ident with the consent of the board of trustees. All promotions
are made by the town board on the basis of merit and length of
service. Any dismissal is made by the board of trustees, also,
and a dismissal is made only with just cause. The captain, how-
ever, may suspend any member of the force, only he must give
his reasons to the board.
The powers and duties of a police officer are in general to
preserve order, peace, and quiet, and to enforce the laws and or-
dinances throughout the town. He makes arrests for various |
crimes, usually felonies — robbery, assault, or murder — and
misdemeanors — speeding, obstruction, disorder, accidents, etc.
He can force his way into a dwelling or other building if the
emergency demands such action; but ordinarily he must have
the proper warrant. If an officer calls on a by-stander to
assist him, the person must do so or be subject to a fine of from
five to twenty-five dollars.
Actual The actual experiences of a policeman are rather different
Experience from the cases stated in the lawbooks. At one minute he may be
after a robber; and at the next he is lifting a stricken horse, or
acting as a fireman. He helps man, woman, and child; inspects
buildings; assists the health commissioner; seeks stolen proper-
ty ; or enforces the garbage laws. Then he is frequently called
to allay suffering and destitution when he helps the orphan, the
widow, and those in misfortune. During the hscal year ending
March 31, 1921, the Cicero police force made 2,016 arrests, of
which 216 were state cases, and 1800 were town cases. They
found twelve abandoned infants, reported 452 accidents, report-
ed forty-two attempted suicides, reported 252 dead animals, and
took 352 sick and injured to hospitals. The force recovered
stolen property, totalling in value $69,738.00.
The following is a copy of a monthly report, made by the Model
captain of the police department to the president and board of
trustees ; it shows accurately the regular work of the police
To the Honorable President and Board of Trustees :
Cicero, Illinois, January 3rd, 1921.
Town of Cicero.
The following is a report of the work done by the
Department of Police, from December 1st, 1920 to January 1st,
1921: Patrol calls 188, of which 81 were for arrests, 8
hospital, 73 false calls, 3 detention hospital, 3 fire calls, 2 bride-
well, 4 county jail, 4 juvenile detention home and 6 calls for
people taken home sick. Also one call to bring prisoners from
Harrison Street Police Station to Cicero, and one taking prison-
ers from Cicero to East Chicago Avenue Police Station. One
call taking dead body to undertaker.
Total number of arrests 128
Total amount of fines imposed $ 452.00
Total number for safe keeping 8
Total amount of fines sent to bridewell 3.00
Total amount of fines collected 449.00
Amount of goods recovered valued at 2193.00
Amount of goods recovered and turned over
to other police departments and owners in
other cities 6525.00
Yours truly, Captain of Police
THE TOWN OF CICERO
Captain of Police — He has the management and con-
trol of all matters relating to the department : books and records ;
assignments of all policemen; regulations for uniform and
badges. He is responsible for the well being of the town and
its citizens and for the protection of their property.
Lieutenant of Police — He assists the captain in the
performance of his duties ; acts as captain if the latter is absent ;
and is in charge of the department at night.
Detective Sergeant — He is sometimes called a plain-
clothes man. He spends his time either on special assignments
given him by the captain, or upon his own initiative, in the gen-
eral prevention of crime — a task requiring secrecy and effi-
Desk Sergeant — He has charge of the police alarm sys-
tem, receiving all calls and reports from the patrolmen or any
officer sent in by telephone. He has the "book" where he re-
cords all complaints and offenses. In constant touch day and
night with every part of the town, the desk sergeant is the heart
of the police system.
Patrolman — The policeman's duty is to cover his patrol
or "beat", and there to maintain order and enforce the laws. He
acts on his own judgment, reports all facts of any value, and
performs his duty at the risk of his life.
There are two improvements still to be made to the police
department — and both would be welcomed by the officers and
the men. The first is the application of civil service regula-
tions — regulations which secure men fit, physically and mentally,
and prevent dismissals for political reasons ; i. e., they make the
position secure. The second is a pension system which protects
the members and their families in case of death or permanent
disability. There is, indeed, an organization called the Cicero
Policemen's Benefit Association. The dues are nominal and
there is a death benefit of five hundred dollars ($500.00). The
need, however, is to adopt regular civil service methods.
Ill THE FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Cicero fire department is an efficient one with excellent
equipment, line organization, and an experienced force. The
department has hve hre stations located as follows :
Tire station No. 1 — 1342 South 50th Court, Grant Works
Tire station No. 2 — 1501 South 58th Avenue, Warren Park
Tire station No. 3 — 5303 West 25th Street, Morton Park
Fire station No. 4 — 4900 West 30th Place, Hawthorne
Tire station No. 5 — 26th Street and 60th Court, Clyde.
The station in Morton Park has the hook and ladder truck,
a "steamer'', and a chemical car. Each of the other four sta-
tions has a hose cart and an engine, known as a "pumper." The
apparatus is modern and motor-driven.
The electrical alarm system that has been in use for years
is now (1921) being replaced by a modern one that with its cen-
tral equipment and branch circuits works in an efficient manner.
Grant Works has been equipped and Hawthorne is being equip-
The personnel of the department consists of the fire marshal,
and live companies — one for each station. At the Morton Park
station are the hre marshal himself and his assistant, one engin-
eer and one assistant engineer, and four men. At each of the
other stations are the captain, the lieutenant, one engineer, one
assistant engineer, and six men. The men are on duty in two
shifts of twenty-four hours each. Their total number is forty-
eight listed with the salaries as follows :
Assistant fire marshal
Four ass't. engineers
Four truck drivers
Twenty-eight pipe men
and expenses as below :
Laundry, fuel, and light
Repairs, supplies, new hose
Repairs to fire houses
THE TOWN OF CICERO
All members of the fire department are appointed by thei
town board of trustees. A member may be suspended by the
lire marshal, but in such a case the marshal must report the sus-
pension and his reasons for it to the board of trustees at its next
meeting. The board then acts as seems to them right and just,
either reinstating the man or dismissing him. The fireman re-
ceives no pay during suspension nor until he is returned to duty
by the proper authority. A member is promoted on the basis
of merit and length of service.
The fire marshal has sole and absolute control over all per-
sons connected with the fire department, while on duty. He
has charge of the organization, government, and discipline of
the department, establishing its rules and regulations, with the
approval of the board of trustees. He has the custody of all
equipment: hose, carts, engines, trucks, ladders, electric lines,
and all property belonging to his department.
At a fire itself, the marshal directs the operations of his force
and furthermore he has the powers of prescribing limits in the
vicinity of a fire within which no persons may go, excepting fire-
men and policemen and those admitted by his order; of cutting;
down or removing or blowing up any building or any erections
for the purpose of checking or extinguishing a fire; of summon- (
ing by-standers or licensed wagons or trucks and their drivers?
to his help.
The marshal investigates the origin and causes of all fires, :
keeping an exact record of all findings and circumstances. Inj
addition to this record he has a quarterly report to make to the,
town board regarding the condition and apparatus of the fire
department; and at the end of the year he makes an annual re-
port showing the number and descriptions of buildings destroyed'
or damaged, together with the names of owners or occupants,'
amount of property destroyed and insurance for the same. It is
interesting to know that another copy of the report goes to the
state fire marshal at Springfield, and still another to the National
Board of Underwriters of Insurance. Not only the town but
the state also is concerned with our fire losses ; and the insurance
companies study the report closely for it bears directly upon
their insurance rates or premiums. The better the fire depart-
ment, the lower are the rates.
The following figures show in general the work of the Cicero Report
Fire Department for 1920: for
Total number of alarms 248
False alarms 113
Fire alarms 135
Of the 135 real fires (not including the fire in the C. B. & Q.
yards) 132 were stayed and 3 spread.
The fires occurred in the following kinds of buildings :
Brick structures 28
Frame structures 78
Concrete structures 1
Other builings (sheds, garages, etc.) 28
The value of the property involved in these fires was $1,-
030,200.00. The actual damage caused by fire amounted to $60,-
200.00, which was covered by insurance to the amount of $553.-
300.00. From these statements it can be decided that the fire
department is efficient.
The most important duty of the fire marshal, however, is Prevention
to prevent fires and losses of life and property by fire. To this IS
end he examines all walls and buildings that are dangerous or a mpo
damaged ; he examines buildings that are being raised, en-
larged, altererd, or rebuilt ; he inspects, in outlying districts foud
times a year, in the closely-built portions once a month, all
buildings, premises, and thoroughfares ; he carefully inspects all
places containing inflammable materials (fire-traps) ; he makes
a semi- annual inspection of all school buildings, public halls,
theatres, churches, and manufacturing plants ; he requires a
semi-monthly fire drill in each school ; and with the building
inspector and the chief of police he can close any building or
part of a building where there is a violation of either state
law or town ordinance regarding fire prevention.
The assistant fire marshal has command in the absence of Subordinates
the fire marshal. Each captain has command of his respective
company, makes investigations in his district, instructs his men,
and reports to the fire marshal. Each lieutenant is second in
THE TOWN OF CICERO
command of the station, and acts as captain in the absence of
his superior. The firemen respond to all alarms and do all in
their power to extinguish fires.
The fire department has no pension fund nor pension sys-
tem. Certainly the welfare and the efficiency of the depart-
ment and justice in the treatment of its members necessitate
a definite pension system to provide an adequate sum to pro-
tect the fireman in case of illness or accident, and to protect
the fireman's family in case of death or during retirement after
years of service.
IV. THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT
The health department of the town is an executive depart-
ment which is in charge of such commissioners of health and
such other officers and employees as the board of trustees deems
necessary. At the present time, 1921, the department has the
following organization :
One health commissioner
One departmental clerk
One sanitary officer
One medical laboratory
One Ford sedan
It is important to know that last year, 1920, the town en-
tered into a contract with the grammar school board to take
over the health work of the schools and co-ordinate the two
branches of work, town and schools. The new system is effi- j
cient, as it has resulted in a centralized control of the preventive
measures, and the diseases themselves. The increased expense-
is met by the payment of six thousand dollars ($6,000.00) to'
the town from the grammar school board.
The health commissioner is appointed by the president of
the town with the advice and consent of the board of trustees,
as also are all subordinates in the department. Furthermore, the
health commissioner is required to give a bond of one thousand
dollars, conditioned on the faithful performance of his duties.
The power of removal is in the hands of the president, who
with the advice and consent of the board may remove from office
any officer or employee of the department.
The primary duty of the health department is the preser-
vation of the public health, carrying out all state laws and town
ordinances to that effect. Their activities may be summarized
as follows :
1. Prevention and quarantine of contagious diseases. They
investigate and inspect buildings and premises of all kinds
where, if necessary, they enforce all state laws and town ordi-
nances pertaining to sanitary conditions. If any contagious
disease does appear, they enforce all the rules and regulations
of the Illinois state board of health regarding cleanliness, quar-
antine, placarding, medical care, and disinfection or fumigation.
2. Regulation of food stuffs and drugs. They make rules and
regulations governing the conduct of all dairies, milk depots,
food storage plants, bakeries, restaurants, fruit stores, soda
fountains, ice cream parlors, butcher shops, grocery stores, etc.
These rules relate not only to the sanitary conditions and the
manner of handling the foodstuffs and the other products, but
also to the persons who are employed in the various places,
because their health and habits may be a menace to the welfare
of the community.
3. Care of school children. In accordance with the arrange-
ment stated before, the four doctors assisted by the nurses look
after the health of the ten thousand school children of the town.
This work includes medical inspection, prevention of contagious
disease, corrective treatment, and educational instruction.
4. Inspection of workshops. The health officers must inspect
the sanitary conditions of all workshops and factories and see
that the conditions are good, or else prosecute the offenders.
5. Advisory duties. The health department recommends, as
it deems necessary, any rule or regulation to promote and se-
cure the health of the inhabitants of the town — whether it deals
with a bottle of milk, garbage in the alley, or an epidemic of
influenza or small pox.
At the first of each year the health commissioner makes out
and renders to the town clerk a full and detailed statement of all
THE TOWN OF CICERO
expenditures for the preceding year as well as a complete record
of the work and transactions of the department.
In conclusion there is attached an itemized list of the health
department appropriations for 1921 :
Salary — One health commissioner $ 3,000
Salary— One clerk 1,800
Salary— Five nurses at $1,800 9,000
Salary— Four doctors at $1,000 4,000
Salary — One sanitary officer 900
Laboratory expense 600
One Ford sedan 900
Automobile maintenance 400
Printing, supplies, miscellaneous 4,000
Deduction, contract with school board 6,000
IV. THE BOARD OF LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS
The board of local improvements consists of the regular town
board which forms itself into a committee of the whole to trans- !
act this particular business. The procedure of the board is im-
portant and will bear close study because at some time or other 5
the ordinary citizen is confronted with an improvement and
the necessity of paying for it.
A local improvement starts either by a petition of the prop- ,
erty owners or by the board of local improvements without a.
The board then passes a resolution originating the improve-;
ment and setting forth all details regarding it. Next, the board';
directs the president to prepare an estimate of the cost of the
proposed improvement in accordance with the directions in the
resolution. The president has an estimate carefully worked
out by the town engineer and then submits it to the board. If
the board adopts the estimate, a date is set, not less than ten
days hence, for a public hearing.
Meanwhile, at least five days before t lie hearing, a notification.
including a copy of the estimate, is mailed to all property own-
ers affected, advising them of the proposed improvement. Later
the public hearing is held ; and the board, having listened to the
property owners, can either dismiss the proceedings or continue
them. It has always been their policy to follow the wishes of
the majority, but they could act without consideration of them
Having decided in favor of the proposed improvement, the
board directs the president to prepare an ordinance covering the
improvement. This ordinance together with the estimate when
finished, is recommended by the board of local improvements
to the town board of trustees for passage, and it is passed.
According to the provisions of the ordinance the town attor-
ney files a petition, to which is attached a copy of the recom-
mendation, estimate, and ordinance, in the office of the clerk of
the county court. This petition prays that the county court
confirm the assessment as proposed in the recommendation, es-
timate, and ordinance.
Before the confirmation of the improvement by the county
court, however, these steps have been taken :
1. Appointment of a special assessment commissioner by the
president, and the spreading of the assessment roll by the com-
missioner, the roll showing the legal description of the property.
the name of the owner, and amount assessed against the same.
(Certificate of appointment and assessment roll are filed in the
office of the clerk of the county court.)
2. Notice by mail to each property owner stating the amount
assessed and also stating the date for filing objections in the
county court. (There are also published notices for two sue
3. Hearing of objections by the county court. There may be
no objections, or the assessment may be reduced as exorbitant,
or the proceedings may be dismissed.
Supposing the assessment has been confirmed, the board of
local improvements then advertises for bids from public con-
tractors for the construction of the improvement. At the spec-
ified time and place the bids are opened, and are accepted or re-
jected as the board sees fit. Usually the lowest bidder receives
The actual work then begins under the supervision of the
50 THE TOWN OF CICERO
town engineer. The latter submits to the board of local im-
provements a certificate of the work done, and the board issues
bonds corresponding to the amount. Complying with the terms
of the ordinance the contractor must accept bonds in payment of
all work done. These bonds bear interest at five per cent and are
payable only from the special assessment fund when collected.
Payment Payments for improvements are divided in various ways.
Water stubs and sewer stubs are payable in one year; sidewalks.
sewer mains, and water mains in five years ; street pavement in
ten years. The method is optional with the board of local im-
provements, but there is a legal maximum of twenty years.
The town collector, having received a copy of the assessment
roll from the clerk of the county court, sends notices to all
property owners, and then he receives the payments, according
to the installment. The collector turns the money over to the
supervisor, ex-officio treasurer, and he pays the bonds as they
In case of a deficit caused by expenses larger than the esti-
mate, a supplementary special assessment is levied. If there is
a surplus, a rebate or reduction of the assessment roll is ordered,
which will decrease the amount to be paid by the property
owners. In all cases certificates regarding the work done and
the costs and the payments must be filed with the clerk of the
J UDICIAL DEPA RT M ENT
The judicial department of the town consists of the police
magistrate, the justices of the peace, and the constables.
Police Magistrate — The magistrate of the police court is a
very important official in the life of the town. He handles by
far the largest number of cases in local affairs on account of
his close relations with the police department; and it is his care-
ful administration of the office that produces a wholesome effect
on the ordinary citizen.
He is elected for four years, obtaining his commission from
the governor of the state, and he receives a salary from his fees,
which are ordinarily known as "costs," though a small sum
always goes to the officer making the arrest in each case. His
bond as specified by town ordinance amounts to $5,000.00.
By the provisions of the charter of the town the police
magistrate takes the same oath of office, has the same power
arid authority, and receives the same fees as any justice of the
peace- — all which are provided for under the laws of the state (see
justices' jurisdiction.) In general he tries minor violations of
the law; such as, disorderly conduct, disturbance of peace, and
any violation of the town ordinances. His jurisdiction covers
both civil and criminal actions ; he may fine or imprison ; he may
dismiss the offender, or hold him for trial in a higher court.
Justices of the Peace — There are five justices of the peace,
elected for a term of four years and commissioned by the
governor. Every justice takes the oath of office prescribed by
the state constitution ; and he executes a bond in the sum of
$5,000.00 as security for payment of all money due the govern-
ment and for performance of the duties of his office. He is paid
iby fees received for various legal actions, examples of which are
— acknowledgment of a deed or mortgage, administering oath
I to an affidavit, issuing a summons or warrant, performance of a
marriage ceremony, and a set sum for the trial of all contested
cases. As the police magistrate, the justice may fine or imprison
l the offender, dismiss the case, or transfer it to a higher court —
in Cook County, the county or circuit or superior court, or crim-
The jurisdiction is as follows :
A— Civil Actions — The justice of the peace exercises his
authority in certain cases where the amount claimed does not
exceed three hundred dollars. Such cases are actions on con-
tracts, for damages, of replevin, for fraud, etc. If the amount
involved is over three hundred dollars, the case goes to a higher
B — Criminal Actions — The jurisdiction of the justice is limited
to criminal actions, such as misdemeanors, assault and battery,
etc., in which the punishment is by fine only, and does not exceed
three 'hundred dollars ; and to criminal actions involving im-
THE TOWN OF CICERO
prisonment which is not more than six months. Otherwise the
cases go to the Cook County criminal court.
Closely connected with the justices of the peace are the con-
stables. They are five in number, are elected for four years,
*ake the oath of office, execute a bond of $10,000.00 for security,
and receive their income in fees.
The constable is mentioned here because, though a police
officer, he is really the officer of the justice of the peace, and
executes the orders of the justice, the police magistrate, and a
judge, in both civil and criminal cases. His jurisdiction is the
FINANCES OF THE TOWN
The finances of the town include, during the year, four main
operations. As these operations are the ones common to govern-
ment in the United States, it is important to understand clearly
their main elements. The four are :
I Appropriations — the amount of money needed (tax)
II Assessment- — the valuation of property
III Collection — the duty of the tax payer
IV Disbursements — the payment of the items in the appro-
I Appropriations — How much money does Cicero need to
run itself the coming year?
On or before the firs! day of January in each year all the
officers of the town submit to the comptroller (town clerk) de-
tailed, written statements of the appropriations desired for the
ensuing year. These estimates are arranged and summarized by
the members of the financial department — clerk, supervisor, and
collector — in the form of a "skeleton budget." The budget to
gether with the financial report for the preceding year and an
estimate of the revenue or income expected during the current
year, is transmitted to the town board of trustees. After care-
ful examination and revision by the trustees, the budget is set
forth in the legal phraseology of a town ordinance and pa$&ed.
The Distribution of Each Dollar Expended for Taxes
Cicero, Illinois, 1922
State _ $ .042
Grammar School .323
High School 226
Sanitary District 033
Forest Preserve .007
Next, the amounts of money that are received from other sources
than direct taxation are subtracted from the total appropriated,
and the remainder is the amount of tax levy for Cicero and it is
sent to the clerk of Cook County court to be listed with the other
tax levies, such as state, county, school, etc.
The following is the skeleton budget for Cicero for the year skeleton
1921, together with a statement of the amounts to be collected Budget
from other sources than direct taxation :
Salary Fund $ 13,000.00
Street Lighting 32,270.00
Collecting and Disbursing 8,050.00
Election Expenses , 14,000.00
Public Works 92,880.00
Water Department see below
Health Department 24,600.00
Police Department 97,360.00
Fire Department 103,960.00
Contingent Fund 75,520.00
Department of Buildings see below
Alarm Maintenance 12,200.00
(Fire and Police)
Receipts from licenses, fees, fines, permits, etc. : $ 75,000.00
Receipt from Grammar School Board of Educa-
tion for health service 6,000.00
TOTAL... $ 81,000.00
Cicero (town) appropriations for 1921 $473,840.00
TOTAL TAX LEVY (NET) . . . $392,840.00
Several of the items of the budget are to be explained : the Com
amount for street lighting is paid the Public Service Company of
Northern Illinois to maintain the street lights throughout tin-
The fund for collecting and disbursing takes care of the in-
cidental expenses attending the assessment of personal property
and real estate, the collection of general taxes, and the disburse-
ments by the treasurer.
THE TOWN OF CICERO
. Election expenses include payments to the judges and the
clerks of election, rental of polling places, and the pro-rata share
of the election commissioners' expenditures for all town elec-
The account of the* department of public works covers the
salary of the town foreman and a long list of supplies; such as,
hay, feed, horseshoeing, maintenance of garbage wagons, the
cleaning of alleys, streets, sewers, catchbasins, etc. ; and all
The water department is self-supporting. Sufficient revenue
is collected from the consumers of water to pay all expenses, in-
cluding the purchase of water from the city of Chicago, the
reading of water meters, and the repair of the same.
The contingent fund is the emergency fund ; to it are charged
such items as : publications, laundry, fuel, light, postage, station-
ery, telephone tolls, salary of town mechanic, salary of court
clerk, extra clerk hire, janitor's salary, repairs, and all miscel-
laneous epcpenses, made only upon the authorization of the town
board of trustees.
The department of buildings has its separate fund maintained
by collections of fees for building and electrical permits. The
department is composed of a commissioner of buildings who
supervises all inspections and issues the permits; and three in-
spectors, building, electrical, and plumbing. The latter take the
responsibility of boiler and engine inspection, also. These
officials are regularly appointed by the board of trustees.
The remaining departments have been discussed under ex-
ecutive branches of town government.
II Assessment — What is the value of the property in Cicero :
which must pay the tax? How much must each dollar pay?
What is the rate?
The assessment of property in the town is the duty of the
assessor, a double duty, for it concerns real estate and personal
A — Real Estate — The county clerk lists all taxable, property
with the corresponding legal description. These real estate
books come to the assessor once in every four years ; it is his job,
then, to make a valuation of all property. Each year, however,
he has the records changed according to improvements made.
additions erected, and losses suffered. He returns the books
with the assessed valuations (now one-half the market price)
to the Cook County board of assessors. The latter check up all
records and then send the books to the county board of review.
This board hears all complaints of tax payers from July 7th to
August 1st, while the actual hearing's are held in August. Finally.
the county clerk has the real estate records.
B — Personal Property — The town assessor mails or delivers
the sheets called personal property schedules. These schedules
are filled out by the taxpayers, who must also take an oath re-
garding the correctness of the statements made. All schedules
are sent to the county board of assessors who arrange the lists
and compile the totals. For these, too, the assessed valuation is
one-half the market value. The lists go to the board of review,
as do the real estate records, and thence to the county clerk.
The county clerk (with three hundred assistants) computes
the rate of taxation for all taxing bodies in Cook County — these
rates for Cicero are given below. The method is : divide the
amount to be laised, the tax levy, by the assessed value of the
property both real estate and personal, in the specification dis
trict. For example, tow n of Cicero : divide the levy, $392,840. UO
by the assessed valuation, $10,000,000.00, approximately, and
obtain the rate — $3.90 per hundred dollars. After which process
he "extends the taxes"; ie., multiplies each valuation by all the
rates in turn, according to the number of taxes the property must
pay. The totals of the real estate and personal property are
kept separate — the taxpayer receiving two notices from the col-
lector, who receives the books from the county clerk.
1920 — Rates of Taxation per Hundred
State $ .40
School District No. 99. . . 2.67
Sanitary District 17
High School 1.95
Clyde Park 27
Clyde Park Bond 08
THE TOWN OF CICERO
Joint School District
Forest Preserve . . .
(98 and 99)
It is interesting to note that corporations and unoccupied
lands in Cicero pay over three- fourths of the taxes, the residents
and small property owners caring for the balance. The assessed
valuation of the personal property of the town is slightly over
one-half that of the real estate. Taxes in Cicero are, indeed,
light in their burden on the citizens.
III Collections — How are taxes collected?
Taxes in Cicero are due March 10th, if the taxpayer wishes to
pay his bill to the town collector at the town hall. After that
date he must pay the county collector (county treasurer) at the
county building in Chicago, having until May 1st. After the
latter day he is a delinquent and he has 1 per cent added to his
tax each month until August 1st. Then, if the taxes are still un-
paid, his property is sold — with this provision : he has two years
to redeem it by paying all taxes, fees, and other expenses. The
accompanying chart shows the distribution of every dollar spent
for taxes in Cicero.
IV Disbursements — How are the payments made?
As stated in the duties of the town clerk who is ex-omcio
town compcroller, and in the duties of the supervisor, ex-officic
treasurer, the former supervises the finances and issues the
warrants for money payments, while thej latter cares for the
The town has no bonded indebtedness and has no deficit ; it
has an excellent flexible system of taxation by the terms of its
charter. These two facts mean a sound financial condition.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF CICERO
The public schools and their product, education, are con-
sidered an essential part of the foundation of the American
nation. This fact is, indeed, recognized by the state of Illinois
which through the laws of its legislature directly controls the
public schools of the state. Following is a concise outline show-
ing clearly the importance attached to the building and mainte-
nance of Illinois schools :
Ordinance of 1787-"Religion, morality, and knowledge be-
ing necessary to good government and the happiness of man-
kind, schools and the means of education shall forever be en-
Illinois State Constitution of 1818-The first constitution of
the state confirmed:
(a) The United States' grant of school land; i. e„ the section
Mo. 16 of each township.
(b) The United States' grant of three per cent of the pro-
ceeds from all public lands sold in Illinois after January 1st.
i&iy, tor the encouragement of learning.
Illinois State Law of 1825-The law provided for public tax-
ation for a system of free schools.
Illinois State Laws of 1854 and 1855-The law of 1854 cre-
ated the office of superintendent of public instruction; the law
of 1855 prov,ded the general school legislation for free schools
with state aid.
Illinois State Constitution of 1870-"The General Assembly
shall provide a thorough and efficient system of free schools
whereby all children of this state may receive a good, common-
The public schools are operated by organizations entirely
separate from the town government. The unit for the schools is
the township, not the town; and the officers are school officers
not town officers. The township unit is well illustrated in the
office of township treasurer. He is appointed by the three school
THE TOWN OF CICERO
township trustees ; he handles all school funds in the township
(this includes both grammar school and high school funds) ;
he holds all school property, land and buildings, in the name
of the trustees. The latter are elected, one annually, on the
second Saturday in April by the legal voters of the township
The legal description of the school township is School Town-
ship 39 north, range 13 east of the third principal meridian; and
it includes all of the original township outside of the city of
CICERO GRAMMAR SCHOOLS
Organization and Operation
The control of the grammar schools of Cicero lies in the
Board of Education of Grammar School District 99. The board
consists of nine members and a president. The nine members
are elected — three annually — each for a term of three years.
The president is elected each year. The president presides at
all meetings of the board and signs all papers ordered to be
executed by the board — bonds, notes, leases, and warrants drawn
on the treasurer of the township. The board handles its busi-
ness through eight committees, which are as follows:
Buildings and Grounds
Finances and Auditing
Text Books and Supplies
Free Indigent Text Books
Its meetings are held monthly, at which the various duties
are performed, some of them being : election of superintendent
supervisors, principals, teachers, and janitors ; selection of text
books ; levying of taxes ; borrowing of money ; care and erec-
tion of buildings.
The executive officers of school administration are the su-
perintendent and live supervisors, together with one hundred
and sixty-one teachers; all selected annually by the board of
education. In addition there are four office employees and four
teen janitors. Their combined work is the care of six
thousand eight hundred (6,800) children in the fourteen large
buildings and the thirteen one-room portable school houses.
The use of "portables" and the fact that twenty-two classes
attended by eight hundred fifty children are in session a half-day
only, lead to the question — why ? The answer is — finances.
The money for the financial support of the schools is re-
ceived, about nine-tenths of it, from direct local taxation, and
the remainder from the state. According to the state law the
grammar school district may levy a tax on one-half the assessed
valuation of property in the district in this way: 1% for edu-
cation and 1% for buildings; the educational fund may be in-
creased by 0.67% if a referendum vote of the people permits it.
The total or maximum, then, is 2.67% — and that is Cicero's rate
today. The income received from the state is derived in these
1. The annual appropriation by the general assembly, which
is obtained from a tax levy. This state school fund is divided by
the auditor of public accounts among the counties of the state
in proportion to the number of children under twenty-one years
of age. Each county superintendent after receiving the share
for his county divides the fund among the township treasurers,
who in turn distribute it to the school districts in the respect-
ive townships, according to the number of children under twen-
2. The township fund, which is a permanent school fund.
When Illinois became a state, 1818, the United States govern-
ment donated section No. 16 of each township to the support
of the schools of that township. Cicero's share*of the fund re-
ceived from the sale and rental of its section now amounts to
an income of $10,375.00, which is divided among the grammar
schools of district No. 99 on the same basis as the state fund.
3. The state school fund, which is composed of three per
cent, less one-half of one per cent given to institutions of
higher learning, of the returns from the sales of public lands
in the state.
4. The surplus revenue fund, which was received from the
United States government in 1836— about $500,000. Illinois
60 THE TOWN OF CICERO
borrowed the principal, but pays the interest at six per cent to
the public schools.
In addition the district is allowed a tax rate of five per cent
for bonding, an act to be approved, of course, by a referendum
vote of the people.
Financial A summary of the financial report of the grammar school
board of district No. 99 for the year from July 1, 1919, to June
30, 1920, will explain the financial system :
Balance on hand July 1, 1919 $ 42,039.88
State funds 37,991.00
Township funds 10,375.90
District taxes 261,121.82
Tuition paid by pupils 65.00
Insurance adjustments 1,107.40
Anticipation warrants 116,773.47
Other sources 1,196.16
Deposit on building contract 2,650.00
School boards and office $ 1,547.09
Compulsory education 1,290.00
Teachers' pension fund 379.00
Interest teachers' orders 1,077.46
Janitors, engineers, etc 27,417.00
Fuel, light, power, water, supplies 30,570.23
Repairs and replacements 12,228.84
Promotion of health 2,339.74
Grounds, buildings, and alterations 52,304.81
New equipment 1,335.75
Principal of bonds 19,500.00
Interest on bonds 12,275.00
Other expenditures 6,172.23
Anticipation warrants 116,773.47
Balance June 30, 1920 5,576.55
The tax rate of the district for the last five years also fol-
1916. , $3.00 (per hundred)
1919 2.67 (assessed valuation changed 1-3 to 1-2)
The total assessed valuation for district No. 99 for 1920 for
taxing purposes is the sum — $11,066,386.00.
The above figures and preceding statements give evidence
of a serious financial problem and a distressing situation in the
education of the children. With the deficit increasing yearly,
and the amounts obtained by anticipatory warrants gradually
reaching a prohibitive figure, something must be done, quickly,
whether it is an increase in rates or in valuation or the building
of junior high schools.
J. STERLING MORTON HIGH SCHOOL
Organization and Operation
The legal title of the high school is the Cicero-Stickney
Township High School. The district in its limits includes Ci-
cero, Berwyn, that part of Stickney lying north of the Illinois
and Michigan canal, and the village of Lyons. Berwyn is in
the high school district because it was originally a part of Ci-
cero. The portion of Stickney belongs on account of the state
law requiring a township high school to be comprised of parts
of two or more townships. The village of Lyons by a petition
of the people was joined to the district in 1920.
The high school is governed by a board of education of five
members, each of whom has a term of three years. Their elec-
tions, however, occur in rotation, two members being chosen
one year, one member the next, and two members the third
THE TOWN OF CICERO
year. The board selects one of its members as president and
one as secretary, the former acting as presiding officer and as
the official representative, and the latter caring for the records
and reports. The work of the high school board as a whole is,
perhaps, most comparable to that of a board of directors of a
business corporation — they supervise and direct and authorize
actions, but they assign the actual administration of the school
to the principal and the assistant principal, each of whom is
elected for one year.
The personnel of the administrative force of the high school
Director of continuation school
In addition there are the office, building maintenance, and
lunch room departments, organized as follows :
Office — Business manager (assistant principal)
Two firemen (one for night duty)
Lunch room —
The students of the high school are registered in a three
A— High school students 932 (1921)
B — Continuation students 800 (1921)
C — Evening school students 2100 (total
enrollments for 1921)
The high school revenue is derived from direct taxation of
property in the high school district. The legal limits are iden-
tical with those of the grammar school ; namely, a tax on one-
half the valuation with a maximum of 1% for buildings and
1% for education, plus 0.67% for education if a referendum vote
by the people permits it. For bonding purposes a tax rate of
5% is allowed by law, provided, of course, that the bond issue
is submitted to the people.
A summary of the financial report of the Cicero-Stickney
Township High School District No. 201 for the year from July
1, 1919, to June 30, 1920, is submitted:
Balance on hand July 1, 1919 $192,934.27
District taxes 180,699.88
Tuition paid by pupils 640.00
Sale of school property 425.00
Vocational education reimbursement 294.45
Other sources, i. e. interest on bank balances. . 8,645.55
Lunch room 14,804.26
Book store 5,367.68
School boards and office $ 4,381.41
Teachers' pension board 201.00
Janitors, engineers, etc 11,643.07
Fuel, light, power, water, supplies 15,425.75
Repairs and replacements 6,640.32
Promotion of health 317.50
Night school 8,027.24
New equipment 12,296.43
Principal of bonds 14,750.00
fnterest on bonds 9,223.75
THE TOWN OF CICERO
Other expenditures 3,183.02
Lunch room 16,071.29
Total : $192,882.64
Balance June 20, 1920 210,928.45
The rates of taxation per hundred for the high school for
the preceding five years are :
The total assessed valuation of the high school district for
taxing purposes is $15,754,820.00 (1920).
In relation to the schools one other important subject must
be explained— the compulsory school law. If a student asks
why he is in school, the reply is — state law. School must be
held in every district at least 110 days in the year, and all child-
ren between seven and fourteen years of age are compelled to
attend. If they are between fourteen and sixteen they must
attend or be at work. In the latter case — work — the children
must secure certificates called "work certificates" from the
school superintendent, and these are given usually on the con-
dition that the parent or parents need the financial assistance
of the child, or as the law puts it, "he must be necessarily and
In 1919, however, the state of Illinois accepted the provis-
ions of a federal law known as the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917.
In accordance with that act, Illinois amended the compulsory
school law by :
1. Providing that, in all districts where part-time continu-
ation schools are established, all children in employment be
tween fourteen and sixteen years of age shall attend those
continuation schools for at least eight hours each week during
the period the schools are in session.
2. Requiring that in 1921 every city or school district in
which there are twenty minors between fourteen and sixteen
HIGH SCHOOL DISTR!
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who are not in all-day schools must establish continuation
schools and that all minors between these ages must attend ;
that in 1922, all minors between fourteen and seventeen who are
not in school must attend part-time schools ; that in 1923, all
minors between fourteen and eighteen must attend part-time
schools. The hours of attendance must be in daylight, between
eight in the morning and five in the afternoon, and not On Sat
urday afternoon. Minors who are graduates of a four-year
high school are not required to attend part-time schools.
The part-time continuation school is under the direction
and control of the high school.
CICERO PUBLIC LIBRARY
The citizens of the town took advantage of the library act Start
passed bv the state legislature in 1919, and at the town election of
in April, 1920, they voted to establish and maintain a public ™***y
library and reading room, and specified a one and one-third mill
tax to support it. The following year, April, 1921, the people
elected the board of directors,, three members, one with a one-
year term, one with a two-year term, and one with a three-year
term. The terms of the succeeding members will, however, be
three years each, and no member receives compensation.
In general the duties of the library board consist in the super- Duties
vision of the library, engagement of librarian and assistants, of
purchase of books, and the maintenance of the building. The Library
first duty, however, is to cause plans for such a builing to be
prepared, an estimate to be made of the cost, a site to be se-
lected, and an estimate of the cost of the site to be made.
According to the law they may then determine the time or the
number of years over which they will spread the collection of
the total cost. The records and estimates are transmitted to the
town board, which may at its discretion provide by ordinance
for the issuance of bonds to cover the cost. There are two pro-
visions regarding the bond issue: (1) the whole of the principal
66 THE TOWN OF CICERO
shall be payable within twenty years; and (2) the rate of inter-
est shall not exceed rive per cent per annum. Instead of issuing
bonds the library board, if it so desires, may divide the total
cost into parts and the town board may enter each part each
year in the tax levy, only the rate must not exceed three and
one-third mills on the dollar and the time of payment must not
exceed twenty years.
At the present time the library board is engaged in the selec-
tion and maintenance of temporary quarters pending a perma-
nent site and a permanent building.
In every community there are always various kinds of civic
organizations, partly private and partly public in their charac-
teristics. Sometimes they exist for improvement of the com-
munity, or to promote business, or perhaps to meet the necessity
of social life or political relationships ; sometimes they unsel-
fishly labor for the welfare of the boys and girls, and some-
times for the relief of those in distress. Cicero has such organi-
zations and a few of them are :
Improvement Societies —
Warren Park Improvement Club
Lithuanian Improvement Club of Grant Works
Clyde Woman's Club
The Rotary Club
The Chamber of Commerce
Clyde Lodge of Odd Fellows
Ladies of Rebecca
Loyal Order of Moose
Cicero Lodge of Free Masons
Order of the Eastern Star
Military Organizations —
Community Service League
Cicero Home Guards
Social Service Groups-
Camp Fire Girls
Cicero Welfare Center
Business Associations —
Hawthorne Business Men's Association
Grant Works Business Men's Association
Twenty-fifth Street Business Men's Association
Twenty-second Street Business Men's Association
Social and Political Organizations —
People's Club of Warren Park
Polish National Alliance
Bohemian National Alliance
Cicero Good Fellowship Club
Young People's Socialist League
The following statements are brief explanations of three of
the preceding organizations, selected because of their funda-
mental principle, "community service."
THE ROTARY CLUB
The Rotary Club is a unique organization. It originated in
1905 when four Chicago men, one a lawyer, one a mining ope-
rator, one a coal dealer, and the fourth a tailor, decided to form
a club. They did so, and very shortly they enlarged their mem-
bership by representatives from other lines of business to the
number of fifty. The name "Rotary" was selected by the Chi-
cago Club on account of the method of holding meetings in rota-
tion at the various members' places of business. The idea spread
to San Francisco, to all parts of the United States, to Canada,
and to foreign countries — so that now there is a strong "In-
ternational Association of Rotary Clubs."
The club is composed of one member from each distinct line
of business or profession. The plan results in a fair represen-
tation of all the diverse interests of the community, a social
contact of these interests, and a powerful co-operation by them
to develop high moral standards and to promote the civic, corn-
. THE TOWN OF CICERO
mercial, and social welfare of the town. Their motto is excel-
lent : "He profits most who serves best.
THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Cicero Chamber of Commerce was organized October
1 1920 starting with a membership of 558, which number has
since been increased to 593. Membership is open tc .all bust
ness and professional men, and to any ^™«t«. Th r
is an annual membership fee of twenty-five dollars The organ
*Ws affairs are supervised by the board of directors, six-
; ee membe meeting semi-monthly, who assign the actual
execute and directive work to a regular managing secretary.
The other officers are president, first vice-president, -on^ 1C e
President and treasurer. Their offices are m the building ot the
Pnkert State Bank at Forty-eighth Avenue and Twenty-second
Sreet This Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Illinois
(state) Chamber of Commerce.
The objects of the organization deserve attention:
1. To gather and distribute business, social, and economic
Sta 2 St To%romote equitable principles of trade and commercial
"'Tto' consider all problems of public service and civic de-
^Tsecure co-operation of all organizations and of all eh-
ize „s in promoting the welfare and prosper, y ^^
m en^"crmTe7of^mmerce thus far will illustrate the
exoression "civic development : ,
following of the legislative acts at Springfield.
Improvement of Cicero's mail service.
Initiative of park and playground legislation.
thousand. remittee for co-operative work and ad-
graph machines operated on a cost basis.
Initiative toward construction of a bridge over the canal at
Consideration of street car question with views of:
City of Chicago officials
Chicago and West Towns Railway Co.
Enabling act by state legislature to provide Cicero with a
zoning commission and a zoning law.
Investigation of stock selling schemes in Cicero.
Promotion of Cicero spirit and Cicero development.
THE CICERO WELFARE CENTER
The Welfare Center has been organized for two years —
1919 and 1920. Beginning in a modest way with its rooms at
2215 South Fifty-second Avenue it has gradually developed in
its work and influence to a place in the hearts of the people
that can scarcely be realized.
Its affairs are conducted by the following officers :
President, vice-president, secretary, treasurer ; and by these
committees : Finance, house affairs, schools, medical board, ways
and means, affiliation, membership, publicity.
Its work is so varied that only an outline of the good which
has been done can be given here :
Relief to sufferers from disease and poverty.
Christmas cheer to the poor.
Assistance to the juvenile court.
Securing of pensions to widows.
Help to working girls ; clothing and schooling.
Employment for men, women, boys, and girls.
Infantile paralysis clinics, held upnder the supervision of
Doctor East and the Illinois State Department of Health.
Tuberculosis clinics, held under the supervision of Doctor
East and the Chicago Tuberculosis Institute.
Certainly such a record as medical advice and assistance to
594 diseased and crippled children, of whom 141 were suffering
with tuberculosis ; or the distribution of fifty Christmas baskets
to the poor; or the 125 personal calls to relieve the destitute,
and help the ill, and comfort the distressed : such a record is an
honor both to the orgaanization and to the town tht supports it.